A suspected car bomb intercepted and destroyed earlier this week by U.S. Marines inside Baghdad’s fortified International Zone did not contain explosives, U.S. military officials said Wednesday.
“Reports of a car bomber penetrating the International Zone are false,” wrote Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone, a 3rd Infantry Division spokesman in Iraq, in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
“There were some indications that a car at an internal checkpoint may have contained explosives. As happens often in Baghdad, precautionary measures [were] taken to neutralize a potential car bomb threat.”
U.S. bomb experts destroyed the car using a “small explosive charge,” officials said, but an analysis of the wreckage determined there were no bomb material inside, Whetstone said.
Media reports Wednesday originally quoted a U.S. military official as saying the vehicle was a car bomb. The driver of the vehicle was detained, the reports said.
“Iraqi security forces and coalition forces work hard to keep the International Zone secure and are constantly adapting their security procedures against potential threats,” Whetstone wrote.
The International Zone, or Green Zone, is home to the U.S. Embassy, military personnel from several countries, and the transitional Iraqi government, among other potential targets. Thousands of Iraqis also live and work within the area. The area also houses a huge palace complex formerly used by Saddam Hussein.