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Tight Iraq election security includes weapons ban

Also planned: curfews, driving limits, airport closure


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Extraordinary security measures, including a ban on weapons, restrictions on who may drive and a curfew, will be in place before and during elections on January 30, a top Iraqi official said Saturday.

"The government's goal is to provide a secure Iraq," Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said. "We have taken all necessary procedures to secure this purpose. All our security forces have been put on alert ... all citizens should abide by these rules and measures."

Also, Baghdad's airport will be closed on January 29 and 30, al-Naqib said.

January 29, 30 and 31 have been declared holidays in Iraq, the minister said. Many areas will have a curfew from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. on those days and anyone in violation will be arrested, he said.

Anyone carrying a weapon will be arrested and the weapon confiscated, he said.

Driving on the streets will be limited to elections supervisors and other officials. The Iraqi interior and transportation ministries will provide transportation for voters needing help to get to the polls.

Iraq's borders will be closed except to Iraqis returning from the annual hajj pilgrimage, the minister said. No transfer between provinces will be permitted.

Walking in and around the polling places will be restricted, al-Naqib said.

Security forces working during the election period will be eligible for "encouraging payments" and be issued special badges, he said.

Two U.S. soldiers convicted in killing

Two U.S. soldiers with the 1st Cavalry Division were convicted and sentenced Saturday in the death of a civilian female interpreter who was shot in the head in November, the U.S. military said in statements.

Spc. Charley L. Hoosier was convicted of one count of manslaughter and one count of making a false statement, the military said.

Spc. Rami Dajani pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement and one count of accessory-after-the-fact involuntary manslaughter, the military said.

Hoosier was given three years in jail; Dajani was sentenced to 18 months. Each was demoted and given a bad conduct discharge, the statements said.

On November 24, Dajani gave a handgun to Hoosier, who killed the interpreter, the military said.

Video apparently shows public beheadings

A video posted on an Islamist Web site Friday shows two Iraqis apparently being beheaded on a city sidewalk as pedestrians and vehicles pass by.

The video was posted on a Web site that has shown video verified as having been produced by a group led by militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. CNN has not confirmed the authenticity of the video.

In the 10-minute video, the two men tell their kidnappers that they drove truckloads of food and supplies to a U.S. base in the central Iraqi town of Ramadi.

The last section of the video shows the men beheaded by several hooded men as the victims lie on a sidewalk and onlookers cheer "Allahu akbar" -- Arabic for "God is great."

It is unclear from the video where the beheadings were carried out.

Other developments

  • Top Iraqi officials disputed reports that former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi would be arrested soon, despite Defense Minister Hazem Sha'alan's claim Friday that Chalabi, a political rival, would be taken into custody by Interpol. (Full story)
  • Eight Chinese hostages held by a group calling itself the "Islamic Resistance Movement" in Iraq have been freed, an official from the Chinese Embassy said Saturday. (Full story)
  • A Brazilian contractor is missing after an incident a few days ago in which an Iraqi driver and a British security guard were killed, a Brazilian Foreign Ministry official told CNN on Saturday.
  • The commander of three British troops accused of mistreating Iraqi detainees testified Friday that he had ordered his troops to crack down on looters. (Full story)
  • CNN's David Ensor, Octavia Nasr, Cal Perry, Auday Sadik and Mohammad Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


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