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Middle east

Two defence officials die inside Green Zone in separate incidents

Latest update : 2009-05-25

Two officials working for the US Department of Defence died in Baghdad's Green Zone in separate incidents. A DOD civilian employee was killed in a rocket attack Friday night while an American Pentagon employee was also found dead.

AFP - One American civilian and a person working for the Pentagon died inside central Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone in unrelated incidents, the US military said on Saturday.
  
The body of a US citizen working for the US Department of Defence (DoD) was found dead in the Green Zone, while another of unidentified nationality was killed by a rocket attack on the Green Zone on Friday night, it said.
  
"A rocket landed inside the GZ, north of the embassy, around 8:15 pm yesterday. One DoD civilian was killed in the attack," Major Jose Lopez told AFP, adding that it could not confirm if the civilian was American.
  
There were no further details about the American Pentagon employee who was found dead, as a criminal investigation was pending, Lopez said.
  
It was not immediately known whether the dead people were male or female.
  
The report of the deaths came as Iraq has begun removing blast barriers in the Green Zone, which is home to Iraqi government offices and a number of foreign missions including the US embassy.
  
Insurgents used to routinely launch attacks on the Green Zone but the last reported attack was in November, when a suicide bomber blew herself up in a corridor leading into the area, killing five people.
  
The Iraqi ministry also said that a mortar bomb hit an undisclosed location in the Green Zone on Saturday but that no-one was injured.
  
Iraq has seen significant improvements in security over the past year but bombings are still common in the capital and other restive areas.
  
This week at least 66 people died in a string of attacks in Baghdad and the troubled northern city of Kirkuk, only weeks before the US military is scheduled to depart urban areas at the end of next month.
  
On January 1, the United States transferred security control of the 14.5-square-kilometre (5.6-square-mile) area on the west bank of the Tigris -- a symbol of the American-led occupation -- to Iraqi forces.

Date created : 2009-05-23

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