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Two suicide car bombs rock Baghdad Green Zone, 5 killed

Five die suicide bombing and 15 others are injured in Baghdad

AFP , Monday 18 Apr 2011
Baghdad
The remains of a vehicle used in a bomb attack are seen near Baghdad's Green Zone 18 April 2011. (Reuters)
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Two suicide car bombs exploded at an entrance to Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone Monday, killing at least five people and wounding 15 others, a security spokesman said.

The attack occurred at around 8:30 am (0530 GMT) at an entrance to the Green Zone, where many foreign embassies and Iraqi government offices are based, as a queue of cars was waiting to enter.

It comes less than a month ahead of an Arab League summit which is due to be held in the Iraqi capital on May 11, with the newly-renovated Republican Palace where the talks are set to take place sitting inside the Green Zone.

"Two suicide car bombs exploded at the western gate of the Green Zone," said Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta, who put the toll at five dead and 15 wounded.

"The bombings happened when there were several employees and officials entering the Green Zone," he added. "The attack was trying to give the impression that the terrorists can target the Green Zone."

The site of the attack, known as Entry Control Point 12, is the main entrance to the central Baghdad area for cars travelling from the Iraqi capital's airport.

Anyone attempting to enter the Green Zone requires a badge issued either by the Iraqi security forces or the US military, with the colour of the badge indicating whether their vehicle needs to be searched before being allowed entry.

A doctor at Al-Yarmuk hospital said they had so far received 13 wounded, nine of whom were members of Iraq's security forces. He added that more victims were being ferried to the hospital.

US military spokeswoman Staff Sergeant Kelli Lane would only confirm "an incident this morning near the International Zone," but gave no details. The US military maintains a contingent of soldiers inside the Green Zone.

A separate attack involving two roadside bombs in the up-scale residential neighbourhood of Jadriyah in east Baghdad left five more people wounded, three of them security force members, the interior ministry official added.

Violence in Iraq has declined dramatically from its peak in 2006 and 2007 but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad. A total of 247 Iraqis died as a result of attacks in March, according to official data.

The May 11 summit of the Arab League had originally been scheduled for March 29, and Arab League chief Amr Mussa said that the grouping should consider postponing it further.

Gulf Arab states have already demanded the summit be cancelled.

Iraq has not hosted a regular Arab summit since 1978 but an extraordinary summit was held in Baghdad in 1990.

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