Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Iraq closing borders with Syria, Iran 'for 72 hours', but when uncertain

Above: An Iraqi border official and his Iranian counterpart check the passports of two Iranian women at the Munthriya border crossing point

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq will close its borders with Syria and Iran for 72 hours as part of the drive to secure and pacify Baghdad, the Iraqi commander of the crackdown said Tuesday, hours after a suicide bombing in a mainly Shiite neighborhood killed at least 15 people.

Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, addressing the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, did not say when the borders would be closed. A government official said it was expected within two days.

The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the borders with Iran would only be partially reopened even after the 72-hour period ended.

The U.S. military announced last week that the sweep was already in progress. But an al-Maliki aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the operation had not yet begun, as far as the Iraqi government was concerned.

Read the rest at the Guardian

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