Iraqi Doctors to Carry Guns for Self-Defense

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi government on Monday said it will allow doctors to carry guns in self-defense, pledging that they will not be detained during security operations.

The cabinet agreed to grant weapons permits to doctors in the light of the killing by insurgents of a large number of professional people since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"The cabinet decided to allow each doctor to carry one weapon to defend himself," the statement said. Doctors will not be detained during security operations unless the health ministry has been informed.

In a move seen as an attempt to prevent the emigration of skilled people, the government is also offering better housing for doctors and a review of taxes imposed on professionals, the statement said.

In July, Iraqi doctors in the southern oil city of Basra staged demonstrations demanding better protection for them after a colleague was kidnapped in the region.


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