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What residents of Baghdad have to say

BAGHDAD, Iraq—U.S. and Iraqi officials have released few specifics about how they're applying the new Baghdad security plan throughout the capital. But phone interviews provide some insight into how the security plan is working in 20 of the city's neighborhoods.

KADHIMIYA, a predominately Shiite in northwest Baghdad. "Usually we were attacked with 10 to 15 mortar shells weekly, but now and since the start of the security plan, only two mortar shells fell," said Ibraheem Khaleel, 37.

SHAAB, a mainly Shiite district in northeast Baghdad. "Few Sunnis are left in the area," said Ahmed Ali, 29, a restaurant worker. "People are really cooperating with the troops. ... The Mahdi Army now is in a low-level appearance. You can hear them trying to be invisible—they are afraid of the security plan."

SHULA, a Shiite district in northwest Baghdad. "Our neighborhood is very calm the last week since the start of the new security plan," said Esam Abo Ali, 36. "The Iraqi army, including Kurdish soldiers, is in the neighborhood. They searched the neighborhood and people were very cooperative with them."

YARMOUK, a Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad. "The main street is very dangerous, especially at midmorning and before sundown," said Mohammed Abdul-Ameer, 47, an unemployed construction contractor. "With both hunter and hunted fully armed, it is wise to keep away. These days the army is everywhere, on the main street, in the roads, as convoys and as stationary groups. Their presence is reassuring, but sometimes, as we say, the protector is the thief. We don't really know that these persons are to be trusted with our lives."

HURRIYA, a once mixed neighborhood that is now largely Shiite in northwest Baghdad. "When the new security plan started, nothing really changed except for an additional police checkpoint," said Nazar, a 36-year-old resident who declined to be otherwise identified.

ABU DESHEER, a southwest Baghdad neighborhood split into Shiite and Sunni sections. "The Mahdi Army controls the side which contains only Shiite," said a 26-year-old Shiite woman who asked not to be otherwise identified. "The situation is calm in that part. In the Sunni part, the Shiite families are displaced from their homes. Iraqi army, Iraqi police and American forces are searching the area."

AMIL, a primarily Shiite district in southwest Baghdad. "Some of the areas under Shiite control by the Mahdi Army were searched by the Iraqi army," said a 21-year-old Shiite man who asked not to be otherwise identified. "They confiscated their guns. They searched all the houses. Families feel somehow safer now. Some Sunni displaced families from neighborhoods under Mahdi Army control were returned. Those families are protected now by Shiite families. Sunni families still feel worried and scared."

BAYA, a mainly Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad. "The Mahdi Army controls the area; no search has been done yet," said a Shiite woman. "We are still waiting for the security plan. The Mahdi Army still breaks up homes and shops, kills people in front of everybody's eyes. We are afraid to go even to the market to buy what we need."

SHABAB, a mixed neighborhood in southwest Baghdad. "There's no security plan yet," said a resident who works as a taxi driver but refused to be otherwise identified. "Snipers are here and there. None of the displaced families has returned home."


(McClatchy Newspapers special correspondents Mohammed al Dulaimy, Laith Mammoudi, Sahar Issa and Dalia Hassam contributed to this report.)


(c) 2007, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.