Incident Summary:

08/19/2003: The top United Nations envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed in a powerful truck bomb blast at the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. A suicide bomber driving a cement mixing truck loaded with explosives bombed the building, killing a total of 23 people. At least 100 others were injured in the blast as well. A group calling itself the Armed Vanguards of a Second Mohammed Army claimed responsibility for the bombing.




Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (Diplomatic)
Name of Entity The United Nations
Specific Description The United Nations headquarters in Baghdad
Nationality of Target International
Additional Information
Hostages No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives/Bombs/Dynamite Vehicle
Weapon Details
Explosive material was packed into a cement mixing truck.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information U.S. investigators suspected the bombing was an inside job and were questioning Iraqi employees and guards, many of whom were linked to Saddam Hussein's security service.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Armed Vanguards of a Second Mohammed Army Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Video)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 24 Fatalities / 100 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 24
Number of U.S. Fatalities Unknown
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 1
Total Number of Injured 100
Number of U.S. Injured Unknown
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
“Bombing at U.N. HQ kills 20, including top official,” Cox News Service, August 19, 2003.
Jamie Tarabay, “U.N. bombing could have been an inside job, U.S. security official says,” Associated Press, August 22, 2003.
D' Arcy Doran, “'We bombed the UN' - Unknown group claims suicide attack,” The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), August 23, 2003.