A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle at the entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad killing seven people. The Green Zone is a secure area protecting government offices and the U.S. embassy
The bomber drove to the entrance of the zone at the July 14th bridge that crosses the Tigris River and then blew up his vehicle at a checkpoint manned by Iraqi soldiers. Both medics and security personnel put the dead at seven and at least 24 people injured in the blast.
Among the dead were three security officers and an Iraqi MP was wounded. The attack shows that militants are becoming increasingly daring by striking at one of the most heavily guarded and fortified areas in the country.
This attack was the deadliest in the Green Zone since the U.S. finished the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in December of 2011. The attack took place as a long queue of vehicles formed during the morning rush hour in front of the entrance. A policeman said:"Cars were lining up waiting to be searched at the checkpoint that leads to the Green Zone and suddenly a speeding car exploded nearby.Some people died inside cars and I saw two soldiers lying on the ground.We immediately closed the area."
The Green Zone was targeted regularly when the American administrative headquarters were in the zone after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Insurgent groups are increasingly active again as the Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is at odds with some of his Sunni rivals. His former Sunni vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi has been condemned to death for murder allegedly associated with death squads. Al-Hashemi sought refuge in Turkey which refuses to send him back to Iraq. Many think the entire trial was politically motivated.
Al Qaeda in Iraq is gaining in strength. A string of attacks killed 92 people in just one day. No attack has been made on the Green Zone however since a mortar bomb in March exploded on the perimeter of the zone. Last November a suicide bomber was able to penetrate to the Iraqi parliament where he wounded two people. The members of government and those in the U.S. embassy will no doubt step up security even more as this attack shows that even the most secure areas in the country are not safe. For more see this article also.