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Bremer Survives Possible Assassination Attempt - 2003-12-19

The head of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Paul Bremer, says he was unhurt in an attack two weeks ago, which took place just as his convoy was returning from a meeting in Baghdad. But a coalition spokesman said it may not have been an assassination attempt.

Ambassador Bremer told reporters in the southern city of Basra that a news report about a recent attack on his convoy was true, and that he had survived the attack and is doing fine.

Coalition spokesman Dan Senor says Mr. Bremer's convoy was assaulted about two weeks ago, on December 6. He refused to give any details, including how the convoy was attacked or where. But he said Mr. Bremer's car kept going, and the ambassador escaped unharmed.

Mr. Senor said it does not appear to have been a premeditated assassination attempt, and the people who attacked his vehicle may not have known he was in it.

"His party was traveling, it was from an impromptu meeting," he said. "It was not scheduled, it did not appear on his schedule. Nobody knew about the meeting. We have reason to believe that it was just a random opportunistic attack not necessarily targeted at him. But it's premature at this point to make that conclusion."

Mr. Senor would not specify the location of the ambush, but he said it happened in an area of Baghdad where there have been frequent attacks against military convoys.

The coalition spokesman says the ambush happened on the same day that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in Iraq to visit American troops. He did not confirm, however, whether Mr. Rumsfeld was the person Ambassador Bremer was meeting with just before the attack.

The American TV network NBC first reported the incident, saying that the convoy hit an explosive device, and then Ambassador Bremer's car came under small-arms fire. NBC said it happened on the road to the Baghdad airport, where military convoys are attacked so often that at one point, soldiers nicknamed the road RPG Alley, referring to the rocket-propelled grenades launched at their vehicles.