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Huge Explosions Rock Central Baghdad

Huge Explosions Rock Central Baghdad

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Insurgents fired mortars Tuesday night into the "Green Zone," the highly guarded headquarters area of the U.S.-led occupation, wounding four people and shaking downtown Baghdad with explosions.

Four large explosions could be heard about 7:45 p.m., and smoke could be seen rising from the northern end of the one-square-mile zone near the al-Jamhuriya Bridge over the Tigris River.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Lt. Col. Jim Cassella said four people were injured in the attacks. He said it was not immediately clear whether the victims were military or civilian personnel or whether they were Americans.

The U.S.-led coalition said in a statement that "two projectiles were launched" in central Baghdad and that "there is no damage and no casualties at (coalition) headquarters." No further details were given.

Iraqi police said two rounds landed in the Green Zone.

The zone is a cordoned-off region that includes the former Saddam Hussein palace now used as coalition headquarters, the Al Rasheed hotel where most U.S. workers have been staying and other buildings.

On Oct. 26, insurgents pelted the Al Rasheed with rockets, killing an American soldier and sparking a hurried evacuation of the hotel.

Tuesday was the second straight night of heavy explosions in the center of the Iraqi capital. About three mortars hit downtown late Monday. U.S. authorities said at least one hit a U.S. Army base but caused no damage or casualties. (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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