Baghdad's Green Zone reopens to the public

Baghdad's Green Zone reopens to the public
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2018 file photo, Iraqi security forces stand guard as they check motorists entering the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq. The Green Zone has been a barometer for tension and conflict in Iraq for nearly two decades. The 4-square mile (10-square kilometer), heavily guarded strip on the Tigris River was known as "Little America" following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It then became a hated symbol of the country's inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi security officials say Baghdad’s Green Zone area, the heavily fortified strip on the west bank of the Tigris River, is now open to the public around the clock.

Maj. Gen. Jassim Yahya Abd Ali tells The Associated Press that the area that houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices is now open “twenty-four hours a day without any exceptions or conditions.”

The area was closed to the public since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple dictator Saddam Hussein. Earlier this year, the government began easing restrictions in the area. It said the Green Zone will be fully open to the public on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

The move is meant to portray increased confidence in the country’s overall security situation.