Iraqi television says authorities will impose a travel ban at the Baghdad city limits starting Sunday night. The announcement was made as U.S. forces close in around the city.
Beginning Sunday night, travel in and out of Baghdad will be banned from 6 pm to 6 am. Iraqi television said Sunday morning the movement of vehicles and people in and out of the capital would be banned during those hours, until further notice. No reason was given for decision.
Over the past several days thousands of Iraqis in buses, cars and on foot have been seen fleeing the capital, many of them heading toward Syria and Jordan.
Reporters in Baghdad say members of the Republican Guard began patrolling the streets on Sunday.
The curfew announcement follows a statement read on Iraqi television Saturday, said to be from Saddam Hussein, urging Iraqis to increase attacks on coalition forces.
Iraq continues to deny that the coalition has control of the main Baghdad airport and has sent patrols deep into the capital, in spite of television pictures of the operations.
Shortly after the statement was read on Iraqi television correspondents in the center of Baghdad reported hearing heavy artillery from the western and southern suburbs of the capital.