Truck bomb at Jordanian embassy in Iraq kills 11

 

A powerful truck bomb that exploded outside the Jordanian embassy compound in Baghdad this morning killed 11 people and wounded 65.

The motive for the attack was not clear, and no group claimed responsibility. The blast occurred one week after Jordan gave asylum to two daughters of Saddam Hussein, however.

The senior US general in Iraq called it the work of "professional terrorists".

Iraqi police Captain Ahmad Suleiman said four civilians were killed in a car caught in the blast and five policemen guarding outside the complex also died.

Hospital sources said later a total of 11 people had been killed and 65 wounded. Weeping relatives queued at a makeshift morgue in a metal shack near a hospital to identify and claim the dead.

The vehicle that police said had carried the bomb was reduced to charred wreckage. Part of it was blown onto the roof of a neighbouring house, the home owner said.

Body parts, including a severed head, were strewn about a wide area and windows within 500 metres were blown out.

Captain Robert Ramsey of the US 1st Armored Division said the bomb exploded at around 11 a.m. (8 a.m. Irish time).

US soldiers in tanks and Humvee vehicles arrived at the scene to investigate the blast. They cordoned off the area and brought the chief of Iraqi police to help with inquiries.

Jordan condemned the attack and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they were.

"This is a cowardly terrorist attack that we condemn in the strongest terms. It will not divert us from our path of support and aid to the Iraqi people on the process of stabilisation," Information Minister Nabil al-Sharif said in Amman.

He said there were no reports any embassy staff members had been killed, but some might have been wounded.

Some Iraqi bystanders said they were angry that Jordan had given sanctuary to members of Saddam's family. However, supporters of the deposed Iraqi leader might also have had a motive - they felt betrayed by Jordan, which aligned itself with Washington during the US-led invasion.