Curfew in Baghdad after Zarqawi's death
Authorities fear that Zarqawi's surviving lieutenants may launch new attacks to assert their organisation's continued presence.Updated: Jun 09, 2006 12:45 IST
Baghdad was placed under curfew on Friday to enhance security in the wake of two evening bombings in marketplaces that followed news that Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed.
Even as US and Iraqi officials predicted that Zarqawi's surviving lieutenants would launch new attacks to assert their organisation's continued presence in the country, two car bombs exploded in predominantly Shiite neighbourhoods killing 15 people.
"The curfew is a measure to keep people indoors as there could be more bombings like the ones last night, following Zarqawi's death," a defence ministry official said.
Vehicles will be banned from the streets of Baghdad and nearby Baquba, close to where Zarqawi was killed, from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, coinciding with Friday prayers.
Zarqawi was killed on Wednesday in a joint US-Iraqi raid.
US F-16 war planes dropped two 500-pound bombs on him and some associates as they were huddled in a meeting at a safe house.
Imposition of curfews in Baghdad and Baquba addresses the main question in the wake of Zarqawi's killing, namely the extent to which his death will affect the wave of violence claiming dozens of lives across the country each day.
In marked contrast to the aggressive and victorious rhetoric characteristic of the weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, or even Saddam's capture that December, US officials have been remarkably cautious.
First Published: Jun 09, 2006 12:45 IST