Monday, April 18, 2011

Baghdad Bombers Hit Green Zone Checkpoint

BAGHDAD — A series of explosions shook Baghdad on Monday, including two at an entrance to the heavily fortified Green Zone, killing at least five people and wounding more than a dozen, according to government officials.

The attacks, which ended nearly three months of relative calm in Baghdad, demonstrated that security check points in the capital remain targets of insurgents as the United States prepares to withdraw its troops by the end of the year.

The explosions began around 8 a.m., when an improvised explosive device was detonated near Baghdad University, injuring two people. Sounds of gunfire erupted throughout the city and a few minutes later a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the Green Zone checkpoint.

Gunfire rang out again and a few minutes later another suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the checkpoint.

According to the spokesman for the Baghdad operation command, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, five people died in the attack at the checkpoint and 15 were wounded.

The attacks raised questions about how the suicide bombers were able to get so close to the Green Zone.

"I was knocked out after that and then I found myself in the hospital," said Abbas Asi Belal, 55, a laborer who was renovating a house near the Green Zone checkpoint. "How can the bombers get this close? No one can get to this road unless they work with the government." Mr. Belal sustained a wound to his head.


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