Car bombs kill 5 at entrance to Baghdad Green Zone

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Two powerful car bombs exploded near a security checkpoint at a crowded entrance to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone Monday, killing five people and wounding at least 15, a security official said.

Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said two suicide bombers struck during the morning rush hour in a line of vehicles queuing at the western entry to the Green Zone, where government buildings and foreign embassies are located in central Baghdad.

The bombers' vehicles were packed with large quantities of explosives and blew up near two motorcades carrying a senior army commander and an official with Iraq's presidential council, Moussawi said. It was not immediately clear if they were the targets.

"The two suicide bombers were targeting a security checkpoint at a time when it was very crowded," he said.

In a statement, the media office of the Iraqi parliament said one of the explosions hit the motorcade of Amjad Abdul Hameed, an adviser to parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.

Hameed was not injured but one of his bodyguards was killed and three others were wounded, the statement said.

The blasts destroyed an Iraqi army Humvee and set fire to several other vehicles at the scene.

An Interior Ministry source said the explosions killed three people and wounded 20, including some Iraqi soldiers.

The Green Zone, a high-security area that to some Iraqis symbolizes foreign military occupation of their country, is a frequent target of insurgent mortar and rocket attacks.

Among the prominent buildings in the area is the Republican Palace, a former home of dictator Saddam Hussein where the Arab League summit is scheduled to be held next month.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since the height of sectarian slaughter in 2006-2007 but militants are still responsible for hundreds of bombings and other attacks each month.

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