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Home World News Washington Post World News Iraq reopens Baghdad’s Green Zone to ease congestion

Iraq reopens Baghdad’s Green Zone to ease congestion

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BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities reopened Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Sunday in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the capital after it was closed and reopened several times in recent years.

Beginning in the early hours of the day, Iraqi authorities removed checkpoints and opened major roads and tunnels that intersected the zone on the western bank of the Tigris River. Cars are allowed to pass through the area, while trucks are banned, officials said.

The Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government offices and the sprawling US embassy, ​​will be open for 14 hours every day from 5 a.m., Major General Jassim Yahya told The Associated Press. During that period, Yahya said, “the entire Green Zone will be open to the public.”

The 10 square kilometer zone with its palm trees and monuments has been largely off limits to the public since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. It first opened in 2019, then closed and opened several times since then.

“The Green Zone has been opened to make it easy for people to get to work on time,” says traffic police Brig. General Muhammad Mahmoud. He added that the opening of the area had been ordered by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

In the past, only Iraqis with special security badges were allowed to enter the area.

The walled area surrounded by cement walls became a hated symbol of the country’s inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch.

“We have been waiting for a long time for the Green Zone to fully open,” said Usama Hassan, a Baghdad resident who works at the University of Baghdad. “This will make our lives easier.”



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