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Egypt Asks UN To Condemn Killing of Envoy in Iraq

An Iraqi guard outside the Egyptian consulate in Baghdad
Egypt has angrily denounced the killing of its ambassador in Baghdad and vowed to continue its support for Iraq. Egypt is asking the U.N. Security Council to address the envoy's killing.

The murder of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif, sparked outrage at the United Nations on a day when the Security Council held an emergency meeting to condemn Thursday's terrorist attack in London.

An internet message apparently from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida group in Iraq claimed it had killed Mr. al-Sharif. A video on an Islamist Web site showed the blindfolded hostage speaking, but did not show his death.

Egyptian authorities later confirmed he had been murdered. The envoy's killing came five days after he was kidnapped in Baghdad, and little more than a month after he took up the post of ambassador.

Egypt's U.N. representative, Maged Abdelfattah Abdelaziz, says his country is asking the Security Council to take up the matter urgently. He described the killers as "brutal terrorists" and said the Ambassador al-Sherif's death would not deter Egypt from its support of Iraq.

"This incident, regrettable as it seems and deplorable as it seems, does not affect the determination of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government to help the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government though these difficult times," said Maged Abdelfattah Abdelaziz.

Ambassador Abdelaziz said, however, that no decision has been made on whether to replace the slain envoy.

"We're still discussing and still evaluating the ramifications of this kind of move and we are assessing the deteriorating security situation, but have not come to a conclusion as to whether we are going to send another ambassador or not," he said.

Ambassador Abdelaziz said Egypt is asking for Security Council action in hopes of improving protection for other diplomatic missions in Iraq.

The Zarqawi al-Qaida group said in its Web site posting that it had delayed announcing kidnapping the Egyptian envoy in hopes of capturing more diplomats in Iraq. In a separate message, the group said it had sentenced the Egyptian ambassador to death, calling him "an apostate" whose government supported the United States and the Iraqi government.