Roadside bomb hits convoy of US envoy in Iraq

NAJAF, Iraq - A roadside bomb on Tuesday hit a convoy carrying the US special envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, but he was unhurt, a spokeswoman for the US mission in Iraq said.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 19 Oct 2010, 10:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:23 AM

Iraqi police officials said the bomb damaged the second-to-last vehicle in the US-Iraqi police convoy as it was leaving the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding three.

“The special representative was in the convoy. He is unhurt. He is fine,” the US spokeswoman said. “We cannot speculate on what was the motive.”

Officials in Najaf said Melkert was in town for a visit to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most revered Shi’ite Muslim cleric.

After the meeting, Melkert urged Iraq’s political leaders to sit down and negotiate the formation of a coalition government without further delay, seven months after an inconclusive election yielded no outright winner, Sistani’s office said.

The lingering political impasse has raised tensions in Iraq just as the sectarian slaughter between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi’ites triggered after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion fades, and U.S. forces begin to gradually withdraw.

Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply but attacks by a stubborn Sunni Islamist insurgency and some Shi’ite militia groups continue on a daily basis.

The United Nations operates under tight security in Iraq.

A truck bomb at the US’s Baghdad headquarters killed 22 people in 2003, including then-US envoy to Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian.

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