Middle East Monitor – The Secretary of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Mohammed Al-Bayati, announced that Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone will reopen to the public for 11 hours a day.
“Based on the directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the Green Zone will be opened from 6am until 5pm,” Al-Bayati said in a statement.
Iraqi authorities have recently reduced the Green Zone’s opening hours as a result of the escalation of violent protests and threats against diplomatic missions, including last year’s storming of the US embassy by supporters of the Popular Mobilisation Forces’ (PMF).
The ten square kilometre area, which is home to government buildings and foreign embassies, was closed after the US-led invasion in 2003.
In 2015, Prime Minister Haider A-Abadi opened the area to the public for the first time in 12 years as part of a reform drive.