Iraq officials: Protesters surge toward Baghdad’s Green Zone

Security forces are still deployed on part of the bridge in order to block the protesters from pushing into the Green Zone. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 November 2019

Iraq officials: Protesters surge toward Baghdad’s Green Zone

  • Protesters took over the Khilani square and part of Sinak bridge
  • Iran requested Iraq to close down Shalamcheh border crossing

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security and medical officials say protesters have pushed closer to the Green Zone, Baghdad’s fortified seat of government, after security forces pulled back following a night of violent altercations.
The officials said Saturday that protesters took control of the strategic Khilani Square and part of Sinak bridge leading to the Green Zone, which houses Parliament and several foreign embassies.
Security forces are still deployed on part of the bridge in order to block the protesters from pushing into the Green Zone.

Meanwhile, Iraq closed its southern Shalamcheh border crossing with Iran to travellers from both countries on Saturday, an Iraqi security source and an Iranian diplomat said.
The security source said Tehran had demanded the closure because of ongoing public protests in both Iran and Iraq. The border would remain shut until further notice but would not affect goods or trade, the security source and the diplomat said.
Officials say a roadside bomb killed three people and wounded 18 late Friday near Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protest movement. Another roadside blast in the southern city of Nassiriya wounded 18 that same evening.
The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.


Turkish Airlines plane from Iran diverted to Ankara amid coronavirus worry

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkish Airlines plane from Iran diverted to Ankara amid coronavirus worry

  • The plane was flying from Tehran and had been scheduled to land in Istanbul

ISTANBUL: A Turkish Airlines plane flying from Iran was diverted to Ankara on Tuesday at the Turkish Health Ministry’s request, an aviation source said, and an aviation news website said one passenger was suspected of being infected by coronavirus.

Turkey’s Demiroren news agency broadcast video showing ambulances lined up beside the plane, with several personnel wearing white protective suits on the tarmac.

The plane was flying from Tehran and had been scheduled to land in Istanbul. Turkey shut its borders to Iran on Sunday and cut flights due to the spread of the virus in that country.