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Iraq Removes Some of Baghdad's Checkpoints to Ease Traffic

Iraqi security forces lift concrete blockades in order to remove checkpoints in Iraq's capital of Baghdad, Dec. 20, 2016.

Iraqi authorities say they have started removing some of the security checkpoints in Baghdad in a bid to ease traffic in the country's capital.

The development appears to reflect the government's confidence in its ability to secure Baghdad — even as it wages a weeks-long offensive to take back Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, from the Islamic State group.

Baghdad has seen some attacks since the Mosul operation started, likely IS attempts to divert attention from the fighting.

Maj. Gen. Jalil al-Rubaie, says that more than 25 checkpoints and 85 patrols were removed on Tuesday from Baghdad's eastern side of Rasafa. He says more will be removed in the coming days in the city's western side.

Hundreds of much-criticized checkpoints have for years dotted Baghdad as authorities struggled to establish security.