At Least 20 Die in U.N. HQ Blast in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide attacker set off a truck bomb Tuesday outside the hotel housing the U.N. headquarters, U.S. officials said. At least 20 U.N. workers and Iraqis were killed, including the chief U.N. official in Iraq, and 100 were wounded.
Sergio Vieira de Mello, a 55-year-old veteran Brazilian diplomat who was only days away from the end of his four-month mission, was in his office when the explosion ripped through the building about 4:30 p.m. and was trapped in the rubble.
U.N. officials said 15 U.N. workers were killed and 100 wounded. A survey of Baghdad hospitals by The Associated Press found five other people killed.
Vieira de Mello's death was announced by U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard, and all the national flags that ring the U.N. headquarters' entrance in New York were removed from their poles. The blue and white U.N. flag was lowered to half staff.
U.N. staffers gathered in corridors, on the promenade facing the East River and around television sets as they mourned the loss of the man Eckhard called "a rising star."
[Source: Associated Press, August 19, 2003]
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