FactsOfIsrael.com News, Comments and Links

<- Back to Main page

August 19, 2003
 Send to Printer    Link to this page
Islamic Terrorist blows truck at U.N. Mission in Baghdad, murders 24

Fox News (www.foxnews.com) reports that a homicide bomber has hit the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad:

A huge explosion that may have been the work of a homicide bomber ripped through U.N. headquarters in Baghdad Tuesday, killing at least 20 people and injuring scores of others.

The U.N. Security Council called the incident a "terrorist attack." One of those who died was U.N. Iraq representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the highest-ranking officials at the United Nations.

There is no concrete death toll yet. Some U.S. officials said 20 people died; U.N. officials said 15 U.N. workers were killed. But a survey of Baghdad hospitals by The Associated Press found five other people who died.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN official who was murdered, was Brazilian. He and I attended the same high school, the "Lycee Pasteur", a bi-lingual school with courses in French and Portuguese. Although I disagree with the hypocrisy of the United Nations and its rabid anti-Israeli and anti-American stance, Mr. De Mello was an incredible man. May God bless his memory.

I copy the full article below.

Explosion Rocks U.N. Mission in Baghdad
Fox News, Tuesday, August 19, 2003
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,95100,00.html

A huge explosion that may have been the work of a homicide bomber ripped through U.N. headquarters in Baghdad Tuesday, killing at least 20 people and injuring scores of others.

The U.N. Security Council called the incident a "terrorist attack."

One of those who died was U.N. Iraq representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the highest-ranking officials at the United Nations.

There is no concrete death toll yet. Some U.S. officials said 20 people died; U.N. officials said 15 U.N. workers were killed. But a survey of Baghdad hospitals by The Associated Press found five other people who died.

Map: Recent Developments in Iraq
Video: Explosion in Baghdad
Video: Inside the U.N. Mission

At least 100 others wounded, according to the most recent reports.

"Nothing can excuse this act of unprovoked and murderous violence against men and women who went to Iraq for one purpose only: to help the Iraqi people recover their independence and sovereignty, and to rebuild their country as fast as possible, under leaders of their own choosing," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement.

A large truck bomb - possibly a cement mixer - caused the blast around 4:30 p.m. local time.

"The explosion was caused by a massive truck bomb," said Bernard Kerik, the senior U.S. law enforcement official in Baghdad. "We have evidence to suggest it could have been a suicide attack."

Asked if Al Qaeda was behind the attack, Kerik said, "It's much too early to say that. We don't have that kind of evidence yet."

The blast occurred at the Canal Hotel, home to the United Nations mission in Iraq. U.N. workers, including international weapons inspectors, have lived and worked there.

The cement mixer apparently drove through a heavy fence and exploded in the lobby.

About one-third of the buildings was destroyed. Iraqis said the blast blew out windows as far as a mile away.

L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, walked through the scene of destruction as workers dug through the rubble with their hands. There was a 15-yard wide hole in the ground.

"We will leave no stone unturned to find the perpetrators of this attack," he said.

People, covered with blood, were still being pulled from the wreckage.

Bremer arrived with Lt. Gen. Richardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in the region, and members of the Governing Council, including Adnan Pachachi, who had served as foreign minister in the Iraqi government that was overthrown in the 1968 Baath Party coup.

U.N. workers say there were at least 150 -- maybe up to 300 -- workers inside the building.

Among the dead was a Canadian who died at Wasiti Hospital, Dr. Safa Jamil said. The Canadian was not identified. The Danish Foreign Ministry said a Dane was among the U.N. workers injured.

Denis Halliday, former U.N. secretary general and former coordinator of humanitarian affairs in Iraq, told Fox News a great majority of people in the building were Iraqi citizens working with the U.N.

"I think this is the worst case I've heard of I've never heard of a bombing of this nature of a U.N. building," Halliday said.

Those at U.N. headquarters in New York have had their eyes glued to the television, hoping for news about their colleagues at the Baghdad facility.

One entire corner of the hotel was blown away. Emergency workers from a nearby hospital, which also suffered damage, were digging, looking for survivors and victims.

"What I'm looking at is a scene of immense devastation," Springer reported.

One wounded man had a yard-long, inch-thick aluminum rod driven into his face just below his right eye. He was a security consultant for the International Monetary Fund, saying he had just arrived in the country over the weekend.

"I can't move. I can't feel my legs and arms. Dozens of people I know are still under the ruins," Majid Al-Hamaidi, 43, a driver for the World Bank, cried out.

Vieira de Mello, who was trapped under the rubble for hours before he died, had been talking to rescue workers outside the rubble with his cell-phone.

"We lost contact and eventually it was confirmed to us that he had died," Annan spokesman Fred Eckhard told Fox News. "It's a tragic personal loss but it's also, on a professional and political level, a big loss for the U.N.'s efforts in Iraq Sergio was one of the big achievers that's why he was chosen for this job, which is one of the toughest, if not the toughest" job in that country.

Annan's office said the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq was in the building at the time of the explosion and was slightly injured. Benon Sevan, the undersecretary general, was also in the building but was not hurt. A senior UNICEF official also was seriously wounded.

Sources at the State Department told Fox News: "It is too early to know if any Americans are among the casualties. A U.S. consular official is on the scene."

Defense officials told Fox News that a "handful of U.S. troops were on the other side of the building at the time of the blast." There is a large contingent of U.S. troops around the area.

Most of the security and checkpoints at the building were handled by U.N. personnel and Iraqi Civil Defense members.

The United States dispatched a "Quick Reaction Force" and closed off the area, offering medical assistance and help searching for survivors.

President Bush, who was playing golf in Waco, Texas, cut short his golf game at the 12th hole and returned to his Crawford ranch

In a later address, Bush said the blast reflected the desperation of Saddam Hussein's followers and called the bombers "murderers."

"The terrorists that struck today again showed their contempt for the innocent. They showed their fear of progress and their hatred of peace. They're the enemies of the Iraqi people. They're the enemies of every nation that seeks to help the Iraqi people.

"The civilized world will not be intimidated and these terrorists will not determine the future of Iraq they are testing our will, it will not be shaken."

Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned Annan to express sympathy and concern and to volunteer help.

Tuesday's explosion almost mirrored the car bomb that rocked the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad on Aug. 7, which killed 11 people and left more than 50 wounded.

The U.N. bombing was the latest in a string of incidents at so-called "soft targets," or lightly guarded civilian and diplomatic facilities.

Oil and water pipelines also came under what is thought to be sabotage attacks this week.

Bremer Tuesday morning warned against the flood of potential terrorists coming in to Iraq from neighboring countries, such as Syria, to boost opposition forces.

Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division north of Baghdad, last month warned his troops to prepare for the possibility of car bombings by supporters of Saddam Hussein and other anti-American forces.

"They are going after softer targets, because they know they're ineffective against military targets," Odierno said July 25.

U.S. administrators and the military "do believe that there are professional terrorists, foreign regime leaders coming in from the border of Iraq," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, told Fox News from Iraq. "But we cannot cut and run. We must stay here and build the security of this country the escalation of terrorists attacks are of great concern to everyone."

Fox News' Bret Baier, Steve Harrigan, Ian McCaleb, David Lee Miller, Liza Porteus, Teri Schultz and Dan Springer and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Posted by David Melle at August 19, 2003 11:38 AM
Comments
Post a comment 
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:


Remember info?



Email this entry
Email this entry to (please enter email address):


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Referrers to this Page

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains some copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.




(According to digits.com)