Friday, February 27, 2004

Baghdad's residents will soon be able to make telephone calls from across the capital as work is completed on replacing 11 telephone exchanges destroyed by U.S. bombing during the invasion of Iraq last year.

Al-Mamoun, the last exchange to be replaced, was opened on Thursday and Iraqi technicians have begun hooking up tens of thousand of subscribers who have been without telephone services for almost a year.

"This has been a giant achievement considering the security situation. We expect all subscribers to be hooked back up by the end of March," Telecom Minister Haidar al-Ebadi said during a ceremony to open al-Mamoun...

The telephone service will be free until a new billing system is set up.

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