Safety group issues warning for Iraq

March 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM
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LONDON, March 11 (UPI) -- A journalist safety group said Monday that, with the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war approaching, even relatively safe cities like Basra could pose a danger.

March 20 marks the 10th anniversary of a U.S.-led invasion meant as a response to perceived weapons threats from Saddam Hussein.

The International News Safety Institute, which has headquarters in London, updated its safety advisory for the southern port city of Basra in light of the upcoming anniversary.

"Basra is much safer than Baghdad, however do not underestimate the city," the ISNI warning stated. It warned that Westerners are subject to frequent policy and security checks and most security firms are recommending journalists travel in armored vehicles.

At least 50 Shiite pilgrims were killed last year in Basra.

ISNI warned that security may deteriorate in Iraq with little advance warning, noting that worst threat may be that a journalist could be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It added that, with Iraq responsible for its own security, national forces and police might not be able to respond as quickly as U.S. or other foreign forces would.

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