Iraqi premier to reopen heavily fortified Green Zone Sunday, say sources

Anti-government protesters storm Baghdad’s Green Zone in Iraq May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is planned to reopen the governmental district of Green Zone in central Baghdad next Sunday, sources close to him were quoted as saying on Thursday.

The announcement came just one day after the premier pledged at a press conference following a cabinet meeting to reopen the heavily fortified area very soon.

The move is expected to be warmly welcomed by the Iraqi people as the zone’s closure was seen as a symbol of the isolation of Iraq’s rulers from citizens.

The closure of the governmental area also caused considerable traffic disruption in the city of seven million people.

The 10-square-kilometer Green Zone on the bank of the Tigris River has been largely off limits to ordinary Iraqis due to security concerns since the 2003 U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The zone is a home to several government buildings and foreign embassies, including that of the United States. Checkpoints and concrete barriers have for years blocked bridges and highways leading into the zone.

The government area has witnessed several protests over the past few years, demanding an end to widely-spread corruption and improvement of public services.

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