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FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

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BAGHDAD, Iraq - The FBI said on Wednesday the bomb that ripped through U.N. headquarters here was made from 1,000 pounds of old munitions including one single 500 pound bomb, all of the materials from Saddam Hussein 's prewar arsenal that required no "great degree of sophistication" to build.

An FBI special agent at the blast site said it was impossible yet to say whether the bomb was the work of Saddam loyalists or foreign terrorists.

A key member of the U.S.-picked interim government, meanwhile, said the death toll stood at 20 but could go much higher.

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

"There are 20 dead and there are many who are still trapped in there," said Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the Governing Council and leader of the Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi insisted the bomb was the work of Saddam loyalists but gave to evidence to support his assertion.

FBI Special Agent Thomas Fuentes said at the blast site that the bomb had been delivered by a KAMAZ flatbed truck. Such trucks were made in the former Soviet Union. U.S. officials had said on Tuesday that a cement truck delivered the explosives.

"We believe it (the bomb) was made from existing military ordnance. ... I cannot say that it required any great degree of sophistication or expertise to create," Fuentes told The Associated Press.

Chalabi also said the Governing Council had warned the United States of a possible terror attack just days before the U.N. bombing.

"During a meeting on the 14th (of August), we received information that a large-scale terror attack would take place in Baghdad. The information said that the attack would be aimed at a soft-target, not the American military or forces. The information said the attack would use a truck and would be carried out by using a suicide mechanism or by remote control. We shared this information with the Americans," Chalabi told reporters.

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

He said the search for survivors was continuing and that his team of investigators had yet to examine the rubble pile where the victims were killed. He said there was great concern that searchers could be harmed by unexploded materials used in making the bomb, which also consisted of Soviet-era artillery and mortar shells as well as hand grenades.

In Stockholm, Sweden, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the deadly attack that killed his top envoy to Iraq would not drive the world body out of the country. The unprecedented attack against the world body killed the envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 19 others, and wounded at least 100 people.

Fuentes said human remains found in the area where the bomb exploded, about 50 feet from Vieira de Mello's office, suggested a suicide bombing. He said that could not be absolutely determined until laboratory testing was complete.

Annan said he was to meet with the Security Council later in the day to discuss security arrangements for U.N. workers in Iraq.

"We will persevere. We will continue. It is essential work," Annan told reporters in Stockholm, Sweden, where he stopped briefly before heading to U.N. headquarters in New York. "We will not be intimidated."

"We have been in Iraq for 12 years and we have never been attacked," Annan said. He said now the United Nations would reevaluate its security measures.

Unlike U.S. occupation forces, the United Nations had been welcomed by many Iraqis and there was no clear indication of who was behind the attack on the three-story Canal Hotel. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

"We don't yet know for sure whether this was a suicide bombing. The Iraqi police are busy with their investigation and I'm sure when they have some information to announce the chief of police, Ahmed Ibrahim, will announce that," said the top U.S. official L. Paul Bremer.

"There are at least two hypotheses," he told NBC Television, saying one blamed remnants of the Saddam regime and the other insurgents from overseas.

World leaders condemned the attack and a defiant President Bush vowed: "The civilized world will not be intimidated."

Some nations raised fears of more attacks and others suggested Washington end its occupation of Iraq. China's President Hu Jintao urged the United Nations to continue its mission to rebuild the nation and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder blamed the attack on "forces that do not want the rebuilding of Iraq to take place in peace and freedom."

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

Hopes of finding survivors were fading Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after the bomb brought town the facade of the Canal Hotel, the U.N. headquarters building. U.S. soldiers maintained a large presence in the area and U.S. Army trucks were coming and going from the compound.

Heavy machinery was pulling up the smashed pieces of the building, strewn by the blast.

"There are so many people who are still missing," said Veronique Taveau, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator.

The truck bomb was detonated at the concrete wall outside the three-story Canal Hotel at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, blasting a 6-foot-deep crater in the ground.

Except for the recently built concrete wall, U.N. officials at the headquarters refused heavy security because the United Nations "did not want a large American presence outside," said Salim Lone, the U.N. spokesman in Baghdad.

The United Nations went into postwar Iraq with trepidation. Relations with Washington were at an all-time low and the strains led the U.N. Security Council to authorize a loosely defined mission forced to work with the U.S.-led occupation.

But U.N. officials in Iraq, trying to maintain an image of neutrality which has long allowed them to operate in some of the most hostile environments, deliberately decided to forgo tighter security measures which the U.S. military could have provided.

Fifteen bodies in white bags were counted by a U.N. worker at the hotel, and a survey of Baghdad hospitals by The Associated Press found five other people who had died in the blast. Taveau said Wednesday the U.N. figure for the dead was 17 and 100 people were wounded.

Taveau said the U.N. operations in Iraq had been temporarily suspended and that travel arrangements were being made for employees who wanted to leave Iraq.

Local employees were told to stay home. Foreign workers were directed to stay in the lodgings that are scattered in many small hotels around the capital.

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Old Munitions

"Moving outside is forbidden," said Salam Quzaz, from the United Nations Development Program.

Vieira de Mello, who had left his job as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to go to Iraq on temporary assignment, was meeting with other U.N. officials when the explosion struck. A news conference was also under way in the building, where 300 U.N. employees had worked.

The 55-year-old veteran diplomat from Brazil was trapped in the rubble, and workers gave him water as they tried to extricate him. Hours later, the United Nations announced his death.

In Geneva on Wednesday, U.N. staff sealed Vieira de Mello's private office in the lakeside headquarters of the human rights office and attached a photograph of him to the door. Staff placed flowers and a candle in front of the door next to a pale blue U.N. flag.

U.N. and U.S. officials called the bombing a "terrorist attack."

It came nearly two weeks after a car exploded and killed 19 people at the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and after a string of dramatic attacks on oil and water pipelines in Iraq.

Tuesday's attack resembled others blamed on Islamic militants elsewhere in the world. While the bomb used was not sophisticated, the operation as a whole showed greater planning and more precise targeting that the guerrilla attacks that have plagued U.S. forces, featuring hit-and-run shootings carried out by small bands or remote-control roadside bombs.

As FBI agents joined the investigation, Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who is rebuilding the Iraqi police force, told reporters it was "much too early" to say if Osama bin Laden 's al-Qaida network was behind the attack. "We don't have that kind of evidence yet."

U.S. forces have been focusing on trying to put down Saddam loyalists thought to be behind the guerrilla campaign against American troops. But the military has also warned of foreign Islamic militants slipping into the country and has said an al-Qaida linked group, Ansar al-Islam, was a possible suspect in the Jordanian Embassy bombing.

In a separate attack, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. convoy on Wednesday, killing a civilian working for the occupation force and injuring two soldiers, U.S. Maj. Brian Luke said.

The civilian contract worker is the second to be killed this month in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown. Luke said it was not immediately known whom he worked for.

The United Nations distributes humanitarian aid and is developing programs aimed at boosting Iraq's emerging free press, justice system and monitoring of human rights.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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