Baghdad's decade-old nightly curfew ended after midnight local time, hours after bombs exploded in and around the Iraqi capital, killing at least 40 people in a stark warning of the dangers still ahead in this country under attack by ISIS. The deadliest of today's bombings happened in the capital's New Baghdad neighborhood, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a street filled with hardware stores and a restaurant, killing 22 people, police said; the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Despite the bombings, the government went ahead with its plans to lift the nightly midnight-to-5 am curfew. The curfew largely had been in place since 2004, in response to the growing sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq after the US-led invasion a year earlier. A crowd of men, women, and even children played music and waved Iraqi flags as they gathered amid a heavy security presence in central Baghdad's Tahrir Square to celebrate the curfew's end.