Dutch embassy in Baghdad attacked

The Dutch embassy in Baghdad was engulfed in flames late on Friday after a rocket-propelled grenade struck the unoccupied building and sparked a major alert.

    There are 1200 troops from the Netherlands in Iraq

    The US military said a

    grenade started a fire that "was quickly extinguished by the

    Baghdad fire department".

    The attack at 1740 GMT was confirmed by Dutch foreign

    ministry spokesman Martine de Haan, who said there were no

    casualties.

    "The Netherlands was clearly targeted in this attack," she said

    in The Hague.

    There are four Dutch diplomatic staff in Iraq led by a charge

    d'affaires.

    Unoccupied building

    Dutch PM Jan-Peter Balkenende
    (L) supported the Iraq war 

    The four, who normally stay in the embassy building but were not

    there at the time of the attack, "have been taken to safety at an

    American base", said de Haan.

    She said it was too early to say if the country's diplomatic

    staff would remain or be repatriated.

    In November, The Hague moved its diplomats in Iraq to the

    Jordanian capital Amman for security reasons.

    The four Dutch

    representatives had recently returned to Iraq where they reside on a

    "semi-permanent" basis, de Haan said.

    Dutch troops 

    At least two other explosions shook the Iraqi capital in the

    hours after the Dutch embassy attack, the US military confirmed.

    Nervous Iraqi guards at the embassy in the Nidhal residential

    district were seen entrenched behind barbed wire and cement walls

    with a flood light illuminating a 100m security

    perimeter.

    The Dutch have 1200 troops stationed in southern Iraq as part

    of the US-led multinational occupation force.

    SOURCE: AFP


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