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New American Embassy opens in Baghdad
06/01/2009

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Just days after the U.S. military formally handed authority of Baghdad's "Green Zone" over to the Iraqis, the new American Embassy opened in Baghdad.

Situated on the banks of the Tigris river, one mile south of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace -- U.S. headquarters in Baghdad since 2003 -- the new embassy opened early Monday afternoon in a closely controlled ceremony that included Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

"The return of the Republican Palace to the government of Iraq last Thursday and the raising of the flag over a new embassy four days later are potent symbols of this record of achievement," Negroponte said during his opening ceremony speech Monday.

The new U.S. Embassy covers 104 acres and is the largest in the world, housing 1,200 U.S. diplomats, soldiers, and government staff from 14 federal agencies, according to a U.S. State Department news release.

"As our military presence ramps down, many other aspects of our relationship are going to ramp up," Crocker told CNN on Monday.

The original price tag on the 27-building complex was $592 million, but a congressional report from 2007 -- citing State Department documents -- indicated the cost could end up $144 million higher.

Meanwhile, two Iraqis were killed and at least 31 injured in a series of bombings across Baghdad on Monday, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

There were at least five separate attacks in the Iraqi capital, with one, the roadside bombing of an Iraqi police patrol, resulting in the death of two people. Three police officers and three civilians were also wounded in the attack, which took place near Shaab stadium in eastern Baghdad at about 1:15 p.m. local time.

In other incidents, 12 people were wounded in two improvised explosive device blasts in the Karrada district of central Baghdad; five people were injured when a bomb in a parked car exploded in the Abu Dcheer neighborhood of southern Baghdad; four people were injured when an IED exploded in Nidhal Street, central Baghdad; and four people were injured when an IED exploded on Palestine Street, eastern Baghdad.

CNN's Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

New American Embassy opens in Baghdad -  Source


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