UN special envoy to Iraq survives roadside bomb
Ad Melkert, UN special envoy to Iraq, has survived a bomb attack in Iraq, reports the United Nations. The former leader of the Dutch Labour Party is unharmed.
Mr Melkert was in a convoy which was leaving the city of Najaf on its way to the airport, around 160 kilometres south of the Iraqi capital Bagdad, when a roadside bomb exploded. The blast hit cars a few vehicles back in the convoy. A policeman was killed and three others injured. Earlier, Mr Melkert visited the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an important Shiite cleric.
Speaking to the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the Dutch politician said " It was a terrible experience." He refused to speculate about whether he was the main target, but he did say the bombing of the UN convoy was not a coincidence.
It is not the first time that UN representatives have been targeted in Iraq. In 2003, 22 UN employees including then Brazilian UN-envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, were killed when a lorry exploded near the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
In recent years, the situation in Iraq, which has been torn apart by war and sectarian violence since the US–led invasion in 2003, has been gradually improving. The political situation is still very tense. Seven months after the last elections, there is still no government in Iraq. Mr Melkert told journalists that as long as there is no government the situation would not become safer.
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