Good news from Iraq (how often do you get to say that?)

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Ben Cohen
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The Iraqis won the Asian soccer title 1-0 over Saudi Arabia this morning! These people deserve something to raise their spirits and it's clear that even with the threat of violence they will not be stopped from celebrating this victory.

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From the BBC: Iraq celebrates football victory



Thousands of Iraqis have spilled onto the streets to celebrate their football squad's Asian Cup victory, firing guns into the air despite a government ban.

Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0. Celebratory gunfire was heard in Baghdad, where authorities had banned vehicles and urged fans not to gather.

It was feared crowds could be targets for bombers. Some 50 people died in attacks after last week's semi-final.

Correspondents say Iraq's progress has temporarily united the divided country.

The team includes Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as Kurds. Thousands of Iraqis, who had been following the match in Indonesia on television, rushed into the streets of the capital and other cities to celebrate.

The crowds in Baghdad included members of the security forces. Guns were fired into the air despite an earlier warning by the authorities that any such displays would be punished.

Meanwhile at the stadium in Jakarta, the BBC's Lucy Williamson says the atmosphere is electric.

She says there is huge sympathy and support here for the Iraqi team, for their difficulties in training and the continuing violence at home.

The team said they wanted to give Iraq something to celebrate as a nation - they have done it and many others in Indonesia are celebrating with them, our correspondent says.

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