More than 40 people killed and 200 wounded in two suicide attacks in Baghdad and Jerusalem, capturing main news headlines worldwideBLOODY TUESDAY [Archives:2003/661/Front Page]
But a United Nations spokesperson in Baghdad insisted that no mass evacuation of staff was being planned.
“The United Nations Office in Jordan is enforcing the partial evacuation of staff from Baghdad in close cooperation with the national authorities,” the U.N. said in a statement sent to Reuters.
A U.N. source told Reuters that three planes have arrived in Amman so far on Wednesday from Baghdad carrying many of the wounded from Tuesday's attack. The blast killed at least 20 people, including top U.N. envoy in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 100.
More planes were expected in the next few days.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said U.N. staff would remain in Iraq despite the attack. “We will persevere, we have work to do,” he said in Stockholm. “We will not be intimidated.”
The source did not elaborate on the numbers of staff being evacuated or what criteria was being used.
“Efforts are being coordinated by the U.N. Office to ensure air transportation of those staff and to provide accommodation in Amman as well as immediate medical and counselling assistance,” the U.N. statement said.
During the U.S. led war against Iraq, the United Nations used Jordan as a logistical base for some of its operations in the war torn country.
Many of the UN's international staff who were evacuated before the war from Iraq were temporarily located in Amman.
Most have returned back to Baghdad in the last two months to expand a post-war presence in Iraq.