Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


U.N. Chief Shaken by Blast in Baghdad

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Baghdad today for a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when a rocket landed about 50 yards from the event. The U.N. chief immediately ducked, but the Iraqi prime minister seemed unfazed.

The rocket landed near Maliki's office during his opening remarks. The building shook, and small bits of debris fell from the ceiling. The U.N. secretary-general immediately ducked, and scanned the room before standing up.

But the Iraqi prime minister seemed unaffected. He was immediately surrounded by several guards within seconds of the explosion.


"Nothing's wrong, " Maliki said, and the news conference continued.

Maliki may have grown accustomed to the sound and feel of exploding mortars, but Ban Ki-moon had good reason to flinch. In August of 2003, militants bombed U.N. headquarters in Iraq, killing 22 people, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. International staffers were withdrawn for a year after the bombing.

Since then, the United Nations has been gradually increasing its presence in Iraq.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit