Flashpoints

Blast at Iraq weapons depot injures 13, cause unclear

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s interior ministry says a large explosion at an ammunition depot southwest of the capital, Baghdad, has injured 13 people, most lightly.

Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, a ministry spokesman, said it was not immediately clear what caused the blast at the al-Saqr military base.

The explosion was heard throughout the city and smoke billowed in the air Monday evening.

In this Dec. 10, 2018, file photo, Iraqi security forces stand guard as they check motorists entering the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq. (Karim Kadim/AP)
Baghdad’s Green Zone reopens to the public after 16 years

Baghdad’s Green Zone area, the heavily fortified strip on the west bank of the Tigris River, reopened to the public Tuesday after 16 years — a move meant to portray increased confidence in the country’s overall security situation after years of war.

The base houses a weapons depot for the Iraqi federal police and the mainly Shiite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. The state-sanctioned PMF militias, which also receive backing from Iran, have fought alongside Iraq’s regular armed forces against the Islamic State group.

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