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The New Arab

Iraqi Security forces ban Tikrit residents from entering Baghdad

Security presence has increased following suicide attacks in the capital [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 February, 2016

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A "government blockade" of Baghdad is prohibiting residents from neighbouring Tikrit to enter, local resident told The New Arab.
Security forces have prohibited residents from the Iraqi city of Tikrit from entering the capital by closing off the main road between the two cities, according to local sources.

"Forces from the Baghdad Operations Command Centre have erected a barrier between Baghdad and Salah al-Din to prevent Tikrit residents from entering the capital," Governor of Salah al-Din province, Abdulqahar al-Samaraei told The New Arab.

"The move was made under the false pretence of security," he added.

The measures have been described as "illogical, unacceptable and unjustified" according to al-Samaraei who confirmed it was implemented by the force "a while ago."

Al-Samaraei went on to question the reasoning behind the unprecedented procedures.

"Closing off the area means there is a siege on the two cities. Residents must now travel to the Diyala province via al-Khalis and then to Baghdad from there. This is very difficult to do," he added.

The Tikrit Tribal Council criticised "the blockade imposed by the government on the people of Tikrit", which they say is "prohibiting residents from carrying out their personal business in Baghdad."

Council member, Sheikh Jassim al-Azzawi told The New Arab that he believes the government is discriminating against its citizens.

He went on to describe the pressure being put on the residents of both areas by the government blockade.

"Even those seeking medical attention in Baghdad are unable to enter. The local markets have been affected because shop owners cannot enter the area."

Large parts of the Salah al-Din province, which has seen a deterioration in security since Islamic State militants entered in recent months, are now under the Popular Mobilisation militia control.

Al-Azzawi described the area as "dangerous" and stressed that "residents cannot use the Diyala route because of ongoing conflict between militias".

The council member called on the government to cease the "unacceptable treatment" of local residents saying "there must not be silence on this issue".

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