BAGHDAD - UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was unharmed as he ducked behind the podium after
a rocket landed near the prime minister's office Thursday while the two men were
holding a news conference.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reacts to the
noise from a loud explosion during a news conference with Iraq's Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad in this March 22, 2007 image taken from
An Associated Press reporter who ran outside saw a 3-foot-wide crater about
50 yards from the building where the news conference was in progress in
Baghdad's Green Zone, which also houses the U.S. Embassy. Two cars were damaged.
Security officials for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said it was a rocket
Small chips of debris floated down from the ceiling above the UN chief after
the explosion rattled the building. Ban looked frightened, casting his eyes
right and left as he rose after ducking below the podium where he was standing
and answering questions.
Al-Maliki said "Nothing's wrong," as one of his security men started to grab
the prime minister, and both men resumed their news conference within minutes.
They ended the question and answer session shortly thereafter.
The sound of a weapon being fired - which sounded like a rocket
launch - could be heard not far from the AP office, which is across the
Tigris River east of the Green Zone.
The last time a UN secretary-general was in Baghdad was in November 2005,
when Ban's predecessor, Kofi Annan, visited the capital.
A bomb exploded at UN headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003, killing 22
people, including the top UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello.