A US serviceman on duty with a Marine unit was shot dead south of Baghdad, the US military said yesterday, as the UN prepared to fly out more staff in the wake of this week's truck bombing attack.
A gunman shot the serviceman on Thursday after approaching his vehicle, which had been caught up in traffic in the city of Hilla, 100km south of Baghdad, the military said in a statement. The attacker escaped into a crowded market.
US soldiers have faced daily guerrilla ambushes since the end of the war that ousted former president Saddam Hussein, but such attacks were overshadowed this week by the suspected suicide bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad that killed 24 people.
Up to half the UN's Baghdad-based staff will have left Iraq by the end of the week, a UN official in neighboring Jordan said. Staff wounded in Tuesday's attack or traumatized by it have been authorized to leave.
"We are reducing drastically at the moment... We might have 30 to 50 percent left by the end of this week... probably 50 percent coming out," Christine McNab, the UN resident coordinator in Jordan, told reporters in Amman.
The UN has been keen to stress the bombing will not force it to give up its mission of political and economic reconstruction and humanitarian work in Iraq. But it is clear that it will be severely affected, at least in the short term.
McNab said so far 150 employees had been flown out of Iraq. At least another 50 were to arrive in Jordan yesterday.
UN officials were expected to fly out the body of Sergio Vieira de Mello, its Iraq mission chief who was among those killed by the blast.
The New York Times reported yesterday that investigators were focusing on the possibility that Iraqi security guards at the UN compound had assisted the bombers. A UN spokeswoman in Iraq declined to comment on the report.
A previously unknown Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attack, Dubai-based Al Arabiya reported. The Arabic television channel said the group called itself the "Armed Vanguards of the Second Mohammed Army."
The death of the serviceman in Hilla -- whose name and unit were not released by officials -- brings to 64 the number of US military personnel killed by hostile action since Washington declared major combat over on May 1.
The military said another US soldier was killed and six were wounded in a fire at a small arms range in Baghdad on Thursday. There was no information on the cause of the blaze.
Six US soldiers were wounded yesterday morning when their vehicle ran over a homemade landmine near Baiji, north of Baghdad, the US 4th Infantry Division said. "One of them is still in a critical condition," Major Josslyn Aberle said.
Washington blames Saddam loyalists for much of the violence against American troops and the US is hunting the ousted president and his henchmen.
It announced the capture of Saddam's feared cousin and aide "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majid on Thursday.
Also see story:
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest