The UN Secretary General has experienced the realities of life in Baghdad at first hand. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was giving a news conference in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s residence when a rocket exploded nearby. There were no immediate reports of casualties but Ban was clearly shaken. He was making his first visit to Baghdad for talks with Maliki on UN support for the Iraqi government.
In 2003, 22 people were killed in a bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Meanwhile, Maliki’s office says a senior aide to Shi’ite cleric, Moqtada al Sadr, has been released from custody. Ahmed Shibani had been held by US forces for the past two years on weapons charges. Sadr is the leader of the Mehdi army, which the US called the greatest threat to security in Iraq. Elsewhere, an other high-level associate is reported to have been arrested over the killing of five American soldiers in Kerbala in January.