U.N. staffer killed in Iraq, first since 2010

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2016 1:29 PM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A local U.N. staffer in Iraq was killed after he was abducted from the eastern province of Diyala last April, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Amer al-Kaissy, the Diyala representative for the U.N. mission, was found dead in November near the city of Baquba with a gunshot wound suggesting he had been executed, a statement said.

He was buried a month ago but his body was only identified on Monday after friends looked at photographs.

Several Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias operate in Diyala, which lies between Baghdad and Iran.

They were accused of killing more than 40 Sunni civilians there last month in apparent retaliation for two bombings claimed by Islamic State.

The militias are widely seen as a deterrent against the hardline Sunni insurgents of Islamic State, who seized swathes of territory in mid-2014, but some elements have been accused of rights abuses, which they deny.

The U.N. Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, said he was disappointed that appeals to the Baghdad government to help secure Kaissy's release "went unanswered".

The last U.N. staffer killed in Iraq died in a car bomb attack near her house in 2010, a spokesman said. A truck bomb at the former U.N. headquarters in Baghdad following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 killed 22 people, including then-U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian.

(Reporting By Stephen Kalin; Editing by Angus MacSwan)