Gunmen hurled grenades and fired bullets at a U.N. building in Baghdad, destroying one vehicle and damaging two others, officials said Sunday. One attacker was injured.
The wounded gunman was overpowered and taken into custody by the Iraqi army, said U.N. spokesman Eric Falt.
The remaining three gunmen fled, he said.
The Saturday night assault targeted the World Health Organization’s headquarters, which houses an office for U.N. officials monitoring the oil-for-food program.
No one claimed responsibility, but Iraq blamed it on Iran. The two neighbors fought a war from 1980 to 1988 and still are bitter enemies.
The official Iraqi News Agency said interrogation of the arrested person revealed that he and the others were sent by Iran’s intelligence service. It did not provide a possible motive for the attack.
The news agency said the arrested attacker was an Iraqi of Iranian origin who was deported in 1983. It said he later “entered the Iraqi territory to serve the Iranian intelligence’s purposes.” Details of the gunman’s injuries were not known.
Since 1970, Iraq has deported tens of thousands of Iraqis of Iranian origin to Iran. Iraq said their loyalty to the country was suspect.
According to preliminary reports, the four men lobbed grenades and opened fire at the WHO building, the U.N. statement said.
Falt told The Associated Press the attack took place after the office had closed and when only guards were at the building.
U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, Denis Halliday, condemned the attack, the first ever at a U.N. building in Iraq, the statement said.
“It is the Iraqi government’s responsibility to protect U.N. personnel and property against any harm and Mr. Halliday has asked for an urgent meeting at the highest levels with the Iraqi leaders in order to express his concern,” the statement said.