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Top UN envoy to Iraq killed in blast

BAGHDAD, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The United Nations' representative to Iraq was among at least 17 people killed Tuesday in the bombing of the U.N. mission in Baghdad.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, a 55-year-old Brazilian, died five hours after a suicide bomber drove a truck into the U.N. offices, hitting the building directly beneath Vieira de Mello's window.

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In New York, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed Vieira de Mello's death. U.S. special envoy Paul Bremer said he suspected Vieira de Mello was targeted.

His death brought to at least 17 the number killed, CNN reported, and military officials said at least 100 more were injured. Eight of the dead were based in New York, CNN said.

U.N. flags worldwide were ordered lowered to half-staff.

As many as 300 people worked in the building, struck at 4:30 local time before anyone had left for the day.

Members of the U.S. 101st Airborne division converged with helicopters and ambulances to treat and transfer the wounded. They were assisted by Baghdad police and civil defense workers who erected fences around the former hotel.

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