The Iraqi government is considering a law that would ban smoking cigarettes in public places.

The law could outlaw smoking in government buildings, schools, airports and other public spaces. It also could ban advertising cigarettes.

A government spokesman says the draft law is aimed at reducing the number of people who take up smoking and raise awareness about health risks.

In violence Thursday, a roadside bomb in a southern Baghdad neighborhood killed one Shi'ite pilgrim and wounded three others.

Shi'ites are preparing to celebrate on Friday the birth of the 12th Imam, a ninth century Shi'ite leader who they believe was hidden away by God. Devotees believe he will return one day to bring universal peace.  

Also Thursday, Iraqi police working with U.S. military advisors arrested a suspected terrorist commander in southern Iraq.

A U.S. military statement says the suspect was detained during an Iraqi-led raid on Wednesday. The suspect is allegedly responsible for explosions and mortar attacks in the area.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply during the past year, but a recent series of deadly attacks points to a continued threat.

On Wednesday, Iraqi officials said the concrete security barriers that lined the streets of Baghdad since the U.S.-led 2003 invasion will soon come down.

Government sources said the walls will be removed within 40 days.



Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.