COMMENTS: Code Red in Green Zone

The Baghdad bomb exploded in the cafeteria of the parliament building as a news crew from al-Hurra TV was interviewing a legislator. In the confusion it was not clear how many members of parliament the suicide bomber had assassinated--ABC counted two, CBS three--nor how the belt bomb had escaped detection. CBS' Martin Seemungal called the parliament "one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the worlds" with four concentric circles of security checkpoints conducting searches, X-rays and full-body scans. ABC's Hilary Brown (subscription required) told us about sniffer dogs, the removal of cell-phone batteries and metal detectors. Security at parliament had recently been transferred from US troops to Iraqi forces, NBC's Richard Engel pointed out, after the politicians objected that the Americans had been "too invasive and offensive" in their body searches.

ABC's White House correspondent Martha Raddatz (no link) told anchor Charles Gibson how tight the Green Zone security was last time she was in Baghdad. She had overlooked a crucial piece of embassy identification and was forced to remain on the insecure side: "I was actually in a VIP convoy. I was taken out of the car. I had to wait outside by cement barriers." When a truckbomb sabotaged a major bridge across the Tigris River, killing at least ten, NBC's Engel showed cars that were driving across the span at the time, now submerged, where more dead are likely to be found. In Baghdad, everywhere but those four square miles of green is a Red Zone.


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