7 November 2004 -- The interim Iraqi government has declared a state of emergency for 60 days throughout the country except for Kurdish-run areas of the north.
The announcement was made at a Baghdad news conference today by government spokesman Tha'ir Hassan al-Naqib. This is the translation of interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's statement on the state of emergency: "As a result of the escalation of violence and the daily mass killings that have included even children and women -- these crimes which are being committed by criminals and terrorists -- and for the continuous crimes carried out by these individuals trying to derail the efforts of the government; and also as a result of these activities of deliberate destruction of the infrastructure in
Iraq as a part of their plot to derail the process toward the general elections, and since the government has tried all peaceful solutions and carried out all possible connections and communications in order to establish a peaceful solution, we have decided to declare a state of emergency throughout Iraq, except for Kurdistan in the north, for 60 days."
Al-Naqib did not give any details about how the emergency rules would be applied but said they would be announced tomorrow. Asked whether this signaled an imminent attack on Al-Fallujah, the spokesman described the rebel enclave as an obstacle to elections in January. He said all obstacles will be removed by the Iraqi government. The city has been bombarded by U.S.-led forces.
The interim government reserved the right to declare a state of emergency when it introduced the National Safety Law on 7 July. Under the National Safety Law, a state of emergency can only be declared for a period of 60 days, but may be
renewed with the approval of the interim cabinet and presidential council. The declaration of a state of emergency has been expected, as the interim government takes steps to establish security ahead of the January elections. Iraqi media
reported in recent days that the elections have been scheduled for the last week in January.
During the past 24 hours, Iraqi insurgents launched attacks on police installations, using suicide car bombs, mortars, and rocket attacks. High casualties were reported.
At dawn today, insurgents attacked police stations in western Anbar Province, leaving 22 people dead, at least seven of them policemen.
(international news agencies, RFE/RL)