Sounds to me like the actual perps behind the attack were not the border-crossers they’ve been talking about lately, but genuine homegrown types who know where some of the burried stuff is still hidden. Read that as old members of the Sadam regime!
This article from NYTimes.com
Military Explosives Used in Baghdad Blast, F.B.I. Says
August 20, 2003
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR and DEXTER FILKINS
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 20 – Military weapons, including a Soviet-built 500-pound bomb, were used to blow up part of a United Nations compound here, the F.B.I.’s special agent in Iraq said today.
The explosives also included artillery shells, mortar
rounds and grenades, although not all of them went off, said the agent, Thomas V. Fuentes. He said all the materials were from Saddam Hussein’s prewar arsenal.
“It’s not a homemade device,” he said. “It was from
Mr. Fuentes, who is in charge of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Tuesday’s blast, added it was now believed a flatbed truck was used in the attack. On Tuesday officials said the delivery vehicle was a cement mixer.
But Mr. Fuentes said body parts had been found in the truck’s wreckage, confirming it was driven by a suicide bomber.
Mr. Fuentes added that the truck was not driven into the wall surrounding the compound, as was initially thought, but had been driven up beside the wall. He said a similar vehicle was used in the attack on the Jordanian Embassy here 13 days ago that killed 17 people, but he did not know what kind of explosives were used in that incident.
Today rescue workers were still digging through the rubble of the compound, in the belief that more bodies might be found.
Estimates of the death toll varied from 16, according to the United Nations security coordinator’s office, to at least 20 and possibly more.
So far only seven of those who died have been identified, the United Nations spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said in New York today. At least 100 people were wounded, and 20 of those have been taken to Amman, Jordan, Mr. Eckhard said.
Security was tightened today all over Baghdad, particularly at the Republican Palace used as the headquarters for the United States military. International nonprofit groups like Doctors Without Borders and the Save the Children Fund were
also meeting today, presumably to discuss their future in Iraq and stepped-up security measures to protect their members.
The increased security concerns came amid signs of strain between the United States and the Iraqi Governing Council.
At issue is the role of the American-appointed council and its desire to take a a bigger role in running the country. While the United States says it wants the Iraqis to be more prominent in that regard, council members apparently feel that the real power still rests with L. Paul Bremer III,
Washington’s top civilian administrator here.
Today one of the council’s 25 members, Ahmad Chalabi, said supporters of Mr. Hussein were behind the compound blast.
“There are 20 dead and there are many believed still trapped in there,” Mr. Chalabi said after talks between members of the council and Mr. Bremer.
“We have no doubt that those who carried out this terrorist criminal act are the remnants of the regime and their friends,” he added. He provided no evidence to support the claim.
United Nations workers at the compound were told to stay home today and arrangements were put in place to fly home workers who requested to leave.
In Stockholm, Secretary General Kofi Annan reiterated that the United Nations would not pull out of Iraq because of the attack.
Mr. Annan was on his way back to New York, where the Security Council will meet today to discuss ways to better protect United Nations workers in Iraq. The secretary general made special mention of his “brilliant colleague” Sergio Vieira de Mello, 55, Mr. Annan’s special representative in Iraq, who was killed in the explosion.
Mr. Vieira de Mello’s body was pulled from the wreckage on Tuesday night by American soldiers.
Mr. Bremer said there were indications that Mr. Vieira de Mello had been the target of the attack. The explosion happened just beneath Mr. Vieira de Mello’s third-floor office.
In new violence aimed at American forces, a United States citizen who worked as an interpreter was killed and two soldiers were wounded in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, in an attack with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, military officials said.
The suicide bombing on Tuesday marked a brazen assault on the American occupation here, apparently calculated to destroy any sense of security for people charged with reviving Iraq in the aftermath of the war. If anarchy was the goal, it was anarchy that unfolded.
Screams and moans rose from the dozens of bloodied United Nations workers who lay across the courtyard, as American soldiers yanked and pulled the living from ruins. Bodies lay about, some missing limbs, others covered with white sheets.
Susan Manuel, a United Nations spokeswoman, said the bombing marked the deadliest attack on the organization in its history. The attack came less than a month after the Security Council, relegated to a supporting role in Iraq, voted to endorse the American-backed Iraqi interim government.
The bombing seemed intended to intensify the guerrilla war under way against American soldiers, and to increase domestic political pressure on President Bush, who faces growing unhappiness about the course of the American occupation.
The White House said on Tuesday that Mr. Bush had called Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain to discuss the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East. Mr. Bush also called Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to express condolences over the death of Mr. Vieira de Mello, the White House said.
The dead also included Rick Hooper, the United Nations’ chief expert on Arab affairs; Nadia Younes, Mr. Vieira de Mello’s chief of staff; Ranillo Buenaventura, of the relief coordination office; Marilyn Manuel and Jean-Selim Kanaan,
employees in Mr. Vieira de Mello’s office; Chris
Klein-Beckman, an official of Unicef; and Fiona Watson of Britain, who worked on the oil-for-food program.
A World Bank official in Washington said five of its
employees were missing. Also missing was Arthur C. Helton, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, who was scheduled to meet with Mr. Vieira de Mello at the time of the bombing.
At a cordon set up by American soldiers, the families of the dead and wounded gathered, pushing and pleading for news. A woman with a United Nations tag around her neck stood shuddering and sobbing, alone.
“Things just started to fly,” said Mahal al-Khatib, a
secretary who sat on the edge of the courtyard, her face and body flecked with blood. “I heard an explosion and everything was upside down. I don’t know, I don’t know where they all are.”
The compound was filled with hundreds of people responsible for an array of relief duties: repairing the country’s electrical system, finding homes for refugees and delivering food. When the bomber struck at 4:30 p.m., employees were holding a news conference to discuss their efforts to defuse the thousands of land mines buried across
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack, and speculation ranged across a wide spectrum of possibilities, from agents acting on behalf of Iraq’s neighbors, Syria and Iran, to supporters of Mr. Hussein’s former government.
But the immediate focus of attention was Ansar al-Islam, a militant Islamic group that American officials believe has been plotting attacks against Western targets in Baghdad. The group, which operated training camps in the mountainous
region of northern Iraq, was attacked and dispersed by American forces during the war. Many of the group’s fighters are believed to have fled to Iran.