Iraq’s interior minister has had a lucky escape. A roadside bomb struck a convoy from his compound in Baghdad, killing at least one person. Bayan Jabor was not present. The cars were on their way to a petrol station to fill up when the device exploded.
Meanwhile in Washington, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that there is a risk of civil war in Iraq. He was referring to the recent wave of sectarian killings. But he stressed that the seeds of such a conflict were always there.
“Of course, there has always been a potential for a civil war,” he said.
“That country was held together through a repressive regime that put hundreds of thousands of human beings into mass graves. It was held together not by a constitution, not by respect for your fellow citizens of different religious faiths, but by force and viciousness. That has now gone. And the natural historical differences that have existed still exist.”
Today the corpses of 18 men were found on a minibus in Baghdad. They had been bound and blindfolded and then shot or strangled. The incident follows a pattern of deadly inter-religious attacks since the bombing of a key Shi’ite shrine last month.