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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 08:02 GMT
Baghdad voices: Improved security
Four Iraqis across Baghdad describe a welcome drop in violence in their city in recent weeks.


A patient in Yarmouk hospital
A boy recuperates in Yarmouk hospital, south west Baghdad

I have been working in this hospital for about eight months and the security situation has definitely improved during that time.

We used to receive about 10-15 injuries and five to 10 bodies overnight - caused by bombs or bullets.

The numbers have dropped to about two or three injuries a night and maybe just one body - or none.

This improvement started six to eight weeks ago.

I think it's because the American and Iraqi troops have started to attack the Mehdi army. They have been arresting leaders of the Mehdi army and also al-Qaeda.

I live in the hospital with other doctors, so nobody kills us. We used not to go outside, now we are free to go outside anywhere we want.

I have seen many doctors leave for Sweden, Syria and Malaysia - but we do have enough medical staff, both doctors and nurses.


Al-Rabea'a street, Baghdad
Recent image of Shireen's street taken on a mobile phone

I live in Khadra district [on the west bank of the Tigris] which used to be mixed, but is mainly Sunni now.

Things have changed: There are fewer bombings and more shops are open.

But we still see dead bodies in the street, we still hear about militias attacking people and we still cannot walk in the street after dark.

Overall though, I think it is better somehow, a little easier.

The American and Iraqi troops are challenging the militia - and the Mehdi militia is not active.

We heard that US troops are giving $2,500 to people to reopen their shops. About 20 shops opened in Arabiya street last month.

Most of the shops on our street are damaged. It's not nice, you feel no life going on.


Shopping in Baghdad
Iraqis shop for clothes in Baghdad's commercial Karrada district

The situation is better: less bombing, better shopping and people are able to travel more safely.

Some of the streets which were previously closed because of bombings and insecurity are open again.

Some people have returned to the houses they left when their area became dangerous.

Cars and buses are moving safely through Ramadi and Anbar provinces on routes between Baghdad, Jordan and Syria, even after midnight.

The reason may be due to the hard work by the government and the help of people who realised who the real enemy was - and tried to get rid of it.

Somehow we feel more comfortable. But we are still worried and we are not sure it will last.



On Wednesday morning, for first time in three or four weeks I heard a bomb, right outside the Green Zone.

It has been getting better over the last three months, but for the past three weeks or more things have actually been quiet. So, the bomb came as a surprise.

Generally, in Salihiya district, [near the Green Zone] and in Karrada district, shops are opening up, flowers are being planted in the streets, pavements are being laid, and roads are being repaired. People are also staying out at night later.

Today I was in Mansour district and I saw something new. It used to be really dangerous - but today people were out shopping and they looked different, more relaxed.

I think it's mainly because both the American and Iraqi armies are working on it really hard. People are also fed up with terrorism.

Plus the Mehdi army has stopped its activities.

Thousands of people are returning to Iraq from Syria.

I was on the Syria-Iraqi border filming for a few days recently. During this time I could see up to 50 coaches a day coming back from Syria.

The people on board told me they felt it was safe enough to return - and they wanted to get back to their lives.

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