Poland’s ambassador to Iraq wounded in blast

Poland’s ambassador to Iraq was wounded in an explosion targeting a Polish embassy convoy in Baghdad on Wednesday, a diplomatic source in the Iraqi capital said.

Asked about reports of an explosion targeting a Polish diplomatic convoy, the source said: ”Yes, that’s right. The ambassador is wounded, and we are still trying to relocate him”.

Poland backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which toppled Saddam Hussein and currently has around 1 000 troops in the country.

A police source said one civilian was killed and five people wounded when three Polish embassy cars were hit by separate roadside bombs in the Arasat district in central Baghdad.

The police had no information about the ambassador but said three of the wounded were from the Polish embassy.

Reuters Television pictures showed a European looking man with his head, leg and hands bandaged being evacuated in a helicopter which landed in the street.

Iraqi soldiers said the man, who was surrounded by security guards and troops, was the Polish ambassador. They said other wounded people had been taken by vehicle to the heavily fortified Green Zone for treatment.

Three cars appeared to have been hit in the attack. Two of them were completely burnt out and the third, a sports utility vehicle with shaded windows carried a red and white looking diplomatic flag.

The street had been blocked off by Iraqi security forces.

Several diplomats have been killed by militants in Baghdad since the 2003 invasion.

Iraqi security forces, backed by thousands of extra US troops, have imposed a security crackdown across the Iraqi capital in recent months in an effort to curb sectarian fighting and militant attacks.

Both Baghdad and Washington say the campaign has led to a clear reduction in violence. But a group led by Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda fighters pledged last month to step up attacks to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. – Reuters

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