Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone opened to public for 1st time in 12 years

Oct 5, 2015 10:18 IST

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on 4 October 2015 declared Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone open to the public for the first time in 12 years.

In a statement, al-Abadi said that the move was part of a reform drive that was promised to people.

However, he added, some restrictions would remain, with a number of streets requiring a special pass.

The 10 square kilometers area, home to government buildings and foreign embassies, was closed after the US-led invasion in 2003.

This opening of the Green Zone may end complain of several Iraqis who said that the zone has become symbol of disconnect between the country's top officials and ordinary citizens.

Green Zone area of Baghdad

The present day, Green Zone area of Baghdad that lies on the west bank of the Tigris River in the Karkh district of central Baghdad, was known as the International Zone of Baghdad and was a seat of government power under former president Saddam Hussein. The area became Green Zone after the 2003 US-led invasion and was declared as a no-go area for public.

Despite being protected by high concrete walls with barbed wire and a number of checkpoints, the complex has been targeted number of times by militant groups.

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