Close Call For Iraqi Prime Minister


March 22, 2007

An insurgent attack shows just how dangerous the country is, even for high ranking officials.

Rockets strike Baghdad's green zone nearly every day, but one attack was close.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon ducked behind a podium as a rocket exploded near the convention center, where he was holding a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

The prime minister didn't flinch Iraqis are used to such blasts he even told his security men nothing's wrong, and both men finished the press conference.

The green zone is supposed to be the most protected compound in Iraq, fortified by 20-foot cement blast barriers guarded by troops armed to the teeth, but those safeguards can't stop a rocket.

The secretary general's close call brought a deadly flashback. During a news conference in 2003 a massive truck bomb blew up outside the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing the top U.N. envoy in Iraq and 21 others.

Shortly after, the U.N. pulled out of Iraq never to return in big numbers, not until the security situation improves Iraq simply isn't safe enough.

The rocket attack comes at a time when the Iraqi government disclosed
it has held talks with Sunni insurgents but they're deadlocked.

Insurgents say they'll lay down their arms when there's a timetable
for U.S. troop withdrawal, and Iraq's government saying no pullout until
security is restored.


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