Iraq: Liquor ban lifted in southern province Basra

Baghdad, Iraq - Officials in the southern province of Basra say they are lifting a four-month-old ban on alcohol.

The spokesman for the Basra provincial council, Hashim Aleibi, says the decision Tuesday came after opponents argued the ban violated rights for personal freedoms and denied non-Muslims the ability to buy and consume liquor.

The liquor ban took effect in August in the mostly Shiite Basra region, which includes Iraq's second-largest city. In October, alcohol also was outlawed in the province of Najaf, which has some of the holiest Shiite sites in Iraq.

Drinking liquor violates Islamic law. Alcohol is available in most Iraqi cities in stores generally owned by Christians. But some liquor stores have been attacked.