Baghdad tightens traffic rules to fight car bombs
06 September, 2013
BAGHDAD: Baghdad's security command centre on Thursday effectively barred half the capital's vehicle traffic from taking to the streets in a bid to combat a spate of car bombs.
The measures are a revival of tactics taken in 2005, when violence was surging ahead of the worst of Iraq's sectarian war, and come just days after a dozen car bombs targeting Shia neighbourhoods of the capital killed 50 people.
They will come into force on Saturday and will be enforced until further notice, allowing cars with odd-ending vehicle license plates on the streets one day, followed by cars with even-ending plates the next, and so on.
"It is for security reasons," a senior traffic police officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Baghdad Operations Command wants to check all the cars (in the city) and that will cause huge crowds at checkpoints, so this way, it will lessen the crowds.
"Hopefully, it will not last a long time," the officer said.
The last time the measure was implemented, it lasted six years. Government vehicles, taxis, trucks and vehicles belonging to accredited journalists, lawyers and doctors were exempt at the time. Taxis, trucks and certain government vehicles will be exempt from the latest restrictions as well, but it was not immediately clear if any further exemptions would be granted.