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  Iraq says to close borders with Syria, Iran

Reuters | February 13, 2007

Corrects to show government says will close the borders, not that it has already shut them

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's government said on Tuesday it would close its borders with Syria and Iran and extend the hours of a night curfew in Baghdad under a U.S.- backed security plan to rein in violence in the capital.

The measures ordered by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki were announced on Iraqiya state television by Lieutenant General Abboud Qanbar, the Iraqi commander who is leading the U.S.-backed security offensive in Baghdad.

Qanbar said the border with Iran and Syria would be closed for 72 hours. He did not say when the closures would take effect.

The measures would extend Baghdad's night vehicle curfew of 11 p.m.-6 a.m. to 8 p.m.-6 a.m. Baghdad's international airport, which has been closed down in security operations in the past, will not be affected.

U.S. officials accuse non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran of funding and training Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. American and Iraqi officials have accused Syria of not doing enough to stop alleged foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq.

On Monday bombings in popular markets in Baghdad killed at least 77 people and maimed scores.

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