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Suicide Car Bombing Hits UN Baghdad Office - 2003-09-22

The U.N. office in Iraq has been the target of another apparent suicide car bombing, the second time in a month the institution has been attacked. The blast killed the attacker and an Iraqi policeman, and left 12 people wounded.

The loud explosion ripped through the U.N. parking lot in Baghdad, and reverberated around the capital.

Witnesses say the bomb exploded as an Iraqi policeman inspected the attacker's car at a parking lot checkpoint. There are reports the bomber wore a belt loaded with explosives, and tried to drive closer to the U.N. building before entering the parking lot.

A U.S. military spokeswoman, Army Captain Holly Meeker, called it a suicide attack. "This is yet another example of former regime loyalists hurting the Iraqi people. Coalition forces call on all Iraqi people to help fight these terrorists by providing the coalition with any information that could lead to their capture and to help prevent further attacks of this kind," she said.

Another U.S. military spokesman, Army Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo, said hardcore anti-American elements in Iraq are taking extreme measures, because most anti-coalition elements in Iraq have been brought under control. "We are getting down to the most hardened, most difficult former regime loyalists and others who will stop at nothing to try to prevent the progress that is being made through the vast majority of the country," he said.

The U.N. office in Iraq has been largely abandoned by international staff, since it suffered major damage in an August truck bombing that killed more than 20 people, including the senior U.N. envoy in Iraq. The compound is now used primarily by Iraqi employees of the United Nations.

During the past month, there have been almost daily attacks against Iraqis who work for international institutions, or who cooperate with the occupation forces.

Many Iraqis say the lack of security has become their greatest concern, since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in April.