Rockets explode as Arab leaders meet in Baghdad
Baghdad, March 29, 2012
Three rockets exploded around Baghdad on Thursday despite a massive security operation as Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki hosted the country's first Arab League summit in two decades.
After years of war, Iraq's government had hoped the summit would highlight its growing stability and renewed role in the region.
One rocket exploded on the edge of the fortified Green Zone where the Arab leaders were meeting. "The blast happened close to the Iranian embassy. The windows of the embassy have been shattered, but there are no casualties," a senior Iraqi security source said.
Two other rockets struck central and western Baghdad, but no casualties were reported. Insurgents often fire rockets and mortars at the Green Zone, which houses ministries and foreign embassies.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined Arab leaders at the summit in a former palace of Saddam Hussein, and urged Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to implement a UN-backed peace plan to end a year of violence in Syria.
The only high-ranking Gulf Arab leader at the talks was the Emir of Kuwait, but his presence was a sign of progress in Iraq's often tense relations with Sunni neighbours. - Reuters