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BALAD, Iraq — Some U.S. military commanders were asking their legal advisers for guidance on what to do if they encountered violators of Iraq’s curfew that left Baghdad streets mostly deserted Friday.

The curfew — ordered by Iraq’s Interior Ministry after the bombing of a revered Shiite mosque led to reprisals against Sunni mosques and left more than 100 people dead — started late Thursday and was to last through 4 p.m. Friday.

Maj. Todd Breasseale, a public affairs officer for Multi-National Corps Iraq, declined to say what, if any, measures U.S. forces were being told to take against curfew violators. Breasseale said such measures would be part of the military’s rules of engagement, which are not publicly disclosed, and that any response would depend on the curfew violator. He also said that U.S. forces were not informed in advance of the curfew but that the Iraqi government had exempted U.S. military vehicles from the curfew.

The daytime curfew was imposed in three provinces and Iraqi police said they would detain any violators, according to The Associated Press.

North of Baghdad, in the Taji area, a nighttime curfew had been imposed, lasting from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., said Sgt. Brent Hunt, a spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division. Hunt said U.S. soldiers there who encountered violators were not detaining them but instead were notifying Iraqi army soldiers, who then made the call on how to handle it.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
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