Explosion rocks area near Iraq’s Green Zone

Three explosions in Baghdad, including a car bomb opposite the foreign ministry, killed at least 22 people

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Three explosions in Baghdad, including a car bomb close to the fortified Green Zone, killed at least 22 people on Wednesday, security and medical officials told the Associated Press.

Two of the car bombs were parked opposite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the other car was driven by a suicide bomber who blew himself and the vehicle up outside a restaurant close to a checkpoint one street away from the Green Zone, a source told Reuters.

Another explosion took place near Khullani Square in central Baghdad.

The blasts struck during the morning rush hour, according to two security officials and a medical source.

The blasts came a day after two rockets were fired into the Green Zone, and are likely to heighten concerns about Iraq’s ability to protect strategic sites as security deteriorates across the country.

Official data showed that more than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq in January, as security forces grapple with a surge in bloodshed and a standoff with militants.

A total of 1,013 people - 795 civilians, 122 soldiers and 96 policemen - died as a result of violence, according to data compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defense, Agence France-Presse reported.

(With Reuters and the Associated Press)

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