ICRC’s Vatche Arslanian Killed in Baghdad

GENEVA (Reuters)–The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday that a Canadian staff member Vatche Arslanian–48 was shot and killed in Baghdad on Tuesday when the vehicle he was traveling in was caught in crossfire.

The Geneva-based agency had earlier said that Arslanian was missing and presumed seriously hurt after the incident in eastern Baghdad on Tuesday.

"We have managed to recover the body. He was caught in a crossfire. It was not a targeted hit on our car. There was fighting," said spokeswoman Nada Doumani.

She said 12 other people were believed to have died the incident when a number of vehicles were trapped in the midst of the fighting–but the other people aboard two Red Cross vehicles had managed to escape.

The agency said on Wednesday that it had temporarily suspended its humanitarian operations in Baghdad because the situation in the city was "chaotic and unpredictable." ‘

The humanitarian agency was one of the few international organizations to keep international staff in Iraq during the conflict.

Jan Egeland–secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross–told Reuters in Oslo that the ICRC convoy had been shot at while it was distributing relief supplies.


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