AMERICAN forces have found and disarmed a bomb planted inside the Baghdad's heavily fortified international zone, seat of the Iraqi government.
Crack US paratroops found the powerful explosive device outside a school within the area - also known as the green zone.
The bomb was made with a 155 anti-tank shell - a favourite insurgent weapon - and could have killed scores if it had been triggered when children were arriving for classes.
Locations inside the green zone are seen as a prime target for rebels in the run-up to this month's elections.
A successful attack would prove they can strike anywhere in Iraq. The threat is seen as so serious that 82nd Airborne - the US' prime strategic force - was brought in to do a job normally done by less highly-trained regular soldiers. The decision to send in the force came after 10 people were killed when insurgents carried explosives into the zone last October, detonating two deadly bombs.