Baghdad bomb attacks kill at least 19
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Explosions rocked Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone on Monday, killing 19 people two days before parliament was to vote on a military pact that would allow US forces to remain in the country for up to three more years.
The noise of the explosion echoed across central Baghdad and a pall of black smoke rose above the site.
The Green Zone houses Iraq’s parliament and some government offices and foreign embassies. The roughly 10 square km area is situated on the west bank of the Tigris River which bisects the Iraqi capital.
The attacks are the latest in a series of explosions in Baghdad, where violence has broadly fallen but insurgents have shown themselves still able to stage large-scale attacks.
In the first attack 13 people were killed — nine of them women — when a roadside bomb exploded near a bus carrying trade ministry employees during the morning commute in east Baghdad, a medical official at a nearby hospital said.
Less than an hour later five people were killed when a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives outside one of the main entrances to the Green Zone, where Iraqi employees were queuing to pass through security checkpoints, police said.
The Iraqi government has urged parliament to support the agreement, which would govern the more than 150,000 US troops deployed in over 400 bases across Iraq when their current UN mandate expires on December 31.
Parliament is expected to vote on the pact on Wednesday.