Middle East News
Curfew in Mosul ahead of strike, officials blame security threat
Apr 21, 2011, 14:19 GMT
Mosul, Iraq - Iraqi security forces cited a security threat as they announced a sudden all-day curfew, effective from dawn on Thursday in the northern city of Mosul, ahead of a planned strike.
The curfew was imposed after security forces 'learned that four vehicles loaded with explosives and two suicide bombers entered the city intending to target protesters in al-Ahrar square,' General Ahmed Attiya of the Iraqi police force said in a press statement.
Iraqis have held daily protests in al-Ahrar square for over 10 days in opposition to suggestions that US troops might extend their stay in the country beyond their scheduled departure at the end of 2011.
Protesters had called for a general strike throughout the city on Thursday.
The Iraqi government has not yet announced whether it will ask for a continued US presence. Both Iraqi and US officials have said in the past that a continued US presence is necessary for Iraq's national defence.
During a visit earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the US was 'willing to have a presence' in Iraq beyond the scheduled withdrawal, if the Iraqi government requested it to.
Around 50,000 US troops remain in Iraq. The majority of US forces withdrew from the country last August.
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