As Arab League summit begins, Baghdad hit by blasts


Smoke billows following a blast near the Iranian embassy in Baghdad on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital's heavily-fortified Green Zone on March 29, 2012 as a landmark Arab summit opened. The blast came despite strict security measures by the Iraqi government, which had 100,000 security forces members on alert in Baghdad, and effectively locked down the city.


Ali Al-Saadi

At least three blasts were heard in Baghdad as the Arab League summit began there today, the BBC reported.

The city is blanketed in security; 100,000 members of security forces have been deployed, the international airport is closed to commerical traffic, residents are under curfew, and cell phone networks have been shut off.

As a result, correspondents are having trouble gathering more information about the blasts, but some reporters wrote on Twitter that the blasts sounded like they came from the international zone, formerly the Green Zone, and near the Iranian embassy.

Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, had just opened the ceremony when the blasts were heard, Agence France Presse reported. Smoke was seen rising from the Salhiyeh neighborhood of Baghdad at around 1:40 p.m. local time.

Below is a tweet from a BBC correspondent in Baghdad: