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Explosion Near Coalition Headquarters in Baghdad Kills Two

BY Admin  May 24, 2004 at 12:20 PM EDT

After the bombing, insurgents fired mortar rounds around Baghdad at the coalition compound, known as the “Green Zone,” and at a school in the Salihiya district. There were no reports of casualties.

The explosion of the armored vehicle occurred about 150 yards from a checkpoint outside the Green Zone, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt. He said two people were killed and two others injured.

In London, the Foreign Office said the two killed were British citizens.

American soldiers tried to pull the men from the car and quickly sealed off the area, witness Kamel Raji said, according to the Associated Press.

The latest incident of violence occurred on the day President Bush plans to deliver a prime-time speech on the situation in Iraq and plans to transfer sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government.

In order to garner international support for its post-war plans, the United States and Britain introduced a draft U.N. resolution Monday that would transfer “governing authority” in Iraq to a sovereign interim government by June 30 and authorize a multinational force to maintain peace with Iraqi consent, the AP reported.

U.N. Security Council members, who got an advanced copy of the resolution before heading to a closed-door session on Monday, reacted positively to the draft.

Although the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq is set to end June 30, the United States plans to keep more than 130,000 troops in the country for security purposes.

The draft would give the new Iraqi government the right to review the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force, and would give the interim government control over oil and gas resources.

“I think here there really is broad agreement,” said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, a strong opponent of the Iraq war. “A consensus is producible, possible and desirable.”

Meanwhile, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is trying to decide the makeup of the interim Iraqi government. He is expected to announce by the end of the week the names of a president and prime minister, as well as two vice presidents and cabinet ministers, Iraqi Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi told the Kuwait News Agency on Monday.

The formation of the interim government is a challenging task with Iraq’s three main groups — the Shiite majority and the large Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities — seeking representation in the top two posts.

Brahimi has said the new government will reflect Iraq’s “wide diversity.” He has said he hopes to get the positions filled before the end of May to give the officials at least a month to prepare for the June 30 transfer of power.