Top UN envoy in Iraq shocked by killing of scores of pilgrims

1 February 2010
SRSG Ad Melkert working out of his Baghdad-based office

The top United Nations official in Iraq today expressed his shock and sadness at the suicide bombing targeting Shi’a pilgrims, reportedly killing over 40 people.

Media reports say that more than 100 people were also injured in the attack which occurred as pilgrims travelled from Baghdad to Karbala to take part in the religious rite of Arba’en.

Today’s bombing is “a horrific crime committed against defenseless journeying pilgrims practicing their faith,” said Ad Melkert, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative.

Dozens of pilgrims travelling to Karbala were killed last February in a series of attacks, which Mr. Ban said “cannot be justified by any political or religious cause and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

In a statement issued at the time, he said that he joined “with the people of Iraq in rejecting these cruel and reprehensible attempts to reignite sectarian violence in the country.”


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