More than 1.2 million Iraqi citizens passed through the gates of Zawra Park in northwest Baghdadâ€™s Karkh district as they gathered with friends and family to celebrate the Eid al-Adha Dec. 8-11.
This is a time of year when many families come together; and this year, those families chose to spend time together by visiting the park or touring the Baghdad Zoo to take in many of the recently opened exhibits.
Dr. Adel Salman Mosa, the zooâ€™s director, expressed his happiness and excitement over the size of the crowds during the past week.
â€œDuring the Eid celebration in Zawra Zoo, the new reptile exhibit was what most people were interested in seeing,â€ said Adel. â€œEveryone loved the newly added crocodiles, chimpanzees, snakes and tortoise exhibits.â€
â€œThe task to ensure that the Iraqi experience in the park and zoo was a safe one required the combined planning and execution efforts of numerous agencies,â€ said Capt. Michael Roscoe, Iraqi Security Forces coordinator, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, operationally attached to the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division â€“Baghdad. â€œCol. Geaber Nema Shnawa, the Zawra Park security director, was just one of several leading figures in this critical effort.â€
Roscoe said the leaders of the 54th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, several local Iraqi Police stations and the Zawra Parkâ€™s 160 facilities protection service officers, all contributed to this highly successful venture.
As the crowds grew with each passing day, each of the security agencies ensured their people were ready to support the task at hand..
â€œIt was checking and searching people one by one that created such a safe environment during the Eid celebration,â€ said Geaber. â€œAlso, my guards were able to pass out gifts and candy to children, who came to the event, and if they needed a ride home, we were able to provide them with taxi fare.â€
The five-day Eid celebration in the park marks the third in a series of highly successful events hosted in Zawra Park in the past four months,â€ said Maj. Ryan Remley, executive officer, 4th Bn. 42nd FA Regt.
Almost two million Iraqis visited the Park as part of the post-Ramadan celebration in late September, while in mid-November, local citizens gathered in the park to celebrate â€œBaghdad Daysâ€ and enjoyed a free concert.
â€œEach of these gatherings has not had a single reportable incident and demonstrates the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces to secure these large-scale events,â€ said Remley. â€œThese highly successful events are just one more sign that normalcy is returning to the capital city.â€