Iraqis venture out near Ramadan end as violence drops

Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:17pm EDT
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By Aseel Kami

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis are venturing out into parks and markets as Ramadan draws to an end, enjoying a sense of greater security after deadly bombings around the beginning of the Muslim fasting month.

"At the start of Ramadan we did not venture out. But last week I was driving and saw families sitting in the park," said Mohammed Moussa, seated with his wife and two children in a tree-lined park along Abu Nawas street.

"I was so encouraged, I brought my family today," he said.

He said better policing was evident since two bomb blasts in Baghdad last month that struck near the foreign and finance ministries.

"When there are security forces, we feel safe," said Moussa, a short distance from where police were inspecting vehicles.

Nisreen Ismail, his wife, agreed.

"I am comfortable seeing my children playing ... I feel safe here," she said, stretching out a sheet to lay down the dishes of dates, yogurt, juice and drinks she had brought for their picnic.

The twin truck bomb blasts that killed nearly 100 people on August 19 rattled Iraqis' faith in recent security gains and revived fears that the U.S. combat troop withdrawal from city centers in June would reignite insurgent violence.   Continued...