Soldier, two others dead as rockets hit Green Zone
July 12, 2007
A barrage of mortars and rockets that struck the Green Zone on Tuesday afternoon killed three people — including an American soldier — and wounded 18 others, according to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
The two others killed were an Iraqi citizen and a “foreign citizen,” officials said. Five of the wounded were American civilians, two were American servicemembers and three were people working for an American contractor.
Around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the rounds began landing in the Green Zone, the heavily fortified center of government and military commands in Baghdad. The attacks were apparently launched from a Shiite district northeast of the area, and the barrage included between 20 and 30 mortar and Katyusha rocket rounds, American and Iraqi military officials said.
Though mortar attacks have been a continuing threat since the war began, Tuesday’s incident is the latest in an increasing string of attacks against the Green Zone.
In May, the United Nations released a report that included serious concerns about security in the area, also known as the International Zone.
U.N. officials have scaled back many of their operations and have relocated some of their Baghdad headquarters staff to a reinforced compound within the Green Zone.
According to the 15-page U.N. report, at least 26 people died in indirect fire attacks on the Green Zone between Feb. 19 and June 12. The number of such attacks also spiked, going from 17 in March to 30 in April to 39 through the first three weeks of May.
“The security situation has been further compounded by the increase in car bombs in the vicinity of entry checkpoints” to the Green Zone, the report found. The area is home to the U.S. Embassy, the Iraqi parliament and other government buildings.
Iraqi police officials said Tuesday’s attacks targeted the Embassy, Ibn Sina Hospital, which is staffed by American military medical personnel, and homes of Iraqi officials within the fortified area.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Tuesday’s attack came on the same day unknown militants kidnapped Iraqi police Col. Mahmoud Muhyi Hussein, director of security in the Green Zone. Hussein was reportedly abducted while driving in central Baghdad.