In a crackdown on the increasingly criminal activities of the Mahdi army shi'ite militia, the authorities in Basra have banned murder, kidnap and extortion between 22:00 and 06:00 local time. The move is expected to be welcomed by all sides in the city and comes at a time when tensions are running high following the withdrawal to base of the British troops that had been responsible for security in Iraqs second city.
Police chief Ali al Mahgraghi said the move to daytime-only criminality would solve a number of staffing and rota problems he'd been encountering since the British left. "Some of my men have second jobs which previously clashed with their police commitments, with this move they can focus on enforcing the curfew at night and get on with their other jobs, whatever they might be, during the day."
Local Mahdi army leader Ali al Mahgraghi was also enthusiastic about the changes. "Some of my men have other employers so scheduling kidnaps and drilling holes in peoples heads has sometimes proved problematic. Now there is a clear day/night division between criminality and policework I think this is going to remove some major headaches for our HR guys."
Osama bin Ladin has yet to comment on the curfew, though as he can't seem to keep his mouth shut for a dead guy there will no doubt be something about "infidels" and "jihad" winging it's way to al Jazeera as this goes to press.