Iraq Closes Airports, Borders for 24 Hours, Friday Night, For Elections

Published May 10th, 2018 - 04:00 GMT
A member of Kurdish security forces stands near a campaign poster for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the May 12 parliamentary elections. (AFP/ File Photo)
A member of Kurdish security forces stands near a campaign poster for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the May 12 parliamentary elections. (AFP/ File Photo)
Iraq will close its border crossings and airports for 24 hours, beginning Friday midnight, to secure the national elections, sources close to the premier’s office said.

“The committee formed by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Haider al-Abadi, issued an order to close ports and airports during the day of parliamentary elections,” the sources said.

Kurdistan Region’s Interior Minister Karim Sinjari said that roads separating the region’s provinces would be cut off during the upcoming elections on Saturday, stressing that Peshmerga forces and security services “will have the full freedom to vote for any list they want.”

Most of the previous Iraqi elections have seen acts of violence, with the aim of thwarting the electoral process, the biggest of which occurred in the winter of 2005, when Baghdad alone was targeted with more than ten operations, but also saw the highest voting turnout which reached 76 percent.

In an attempt to reassure voters, Baghdad’s Operations Command held a press conference on Wednesday, saying that it would secure all areas of the capital during the election period.

“There is an integrated plan to secure all centers and people in the capital, and the areas are 100 percent secure during the election period,” said Commander of Operations Major General Jalil al-Rubaie.

He noted that pre-emptive operations were carried out with the participation of all military units in all areas of the capital, and resulted in the arrest of a number of terrorists. He also called on citizens to cooperate with the security forces to report any violations during the elections.

In an audiotape released in April, ISIS warned “all those who support or participate in the elections” would be a target.

According to Rubaie, the Operations Command “set up a precise plan for electoral stations and took a decision to prevent the entry of the vehicles to the capital, starting next Wednesday.”
 
 
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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