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Gunmen Attack Baghdad U.N. Office

October 5, 1997

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Gunmen hurled grenades and fired bullets at a U.N. office in Baghdad, damaging at least three vehicles, officials said Sunday. No one was injured.

One attacker was taken into custody by the Iraqi army, according to a U.N. statement. The remaining three fled, it said.

The Saturday night attack targeted the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Baghdad, which houses an office for U.N. officials monitoring the oil-for-food program.

According to preliminary reports, the four men also lobbed grenades and opened fire at the WHO building, the statement said.

Eric Falt, spokesman for the oil-for-food program, told The Associated Press in Dubai the attack came after office hours and only guards were present at the building.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, Denis Halliday, condemned the attack, the first ever at a U.N. building in Iraq, the statement said.

``It is the Iraqi government’s responsibility to protect U.N. personnel and property against any harm and Mr. Halliday has asked for an urgent meeting at the highest levels with the Iraqi leaders in order to express his concern,″ said the statement.

No one claimed responsibility.

Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions banning the sale of oil, its economic mainstay, since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But a U.N. program, put in place in December 1996, allows Iraq to sell $1 billion of crude every 90 days to buy needed food and medicine under close U.N. supervision.

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