Small Blast at NBC bureau in Baghdad kills hotel worker


September 25, 2003

An explosion at the NBC bureau in central Baghdad killed one man employed in the building and slightly injured one NBC employee. An explosion just before 7 a.m. local time rocked the al-Aike Hotel in Baghdad, headquarters of NBC News in Baghdad. The bomb was placed about three feet from the outside wall of the hotel in a hut that housed the hotel’s generator, police said.

Lt. Col. Salman Kareem said the bomb killed a Somali guard in his sleep and broke glass, but otherwise did little damage to the hotel, which is located in south-central Baghdad. Television footage showed damage to a stairway with its railing.

NBC correspondent Jim Avila said there were no signs on the building indicating NBC had quarters there.

A dozen NBC staffers were inside the building when the explosion occurred. A Canadian soundman, David Moodie, was slightly injured by flying glass, but appeared on MSNBC TV to describe the blast. (MSNBC is a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft.)

“I was awake,” Moodie said. “A chest of drawers in the room fell on me. I sleep in the room immediately above the generator, so I guess I was lucky.”
Moodie said he suffered one deep cut from flying glass and would require stitches. He said no other NBC employees were hurt.

“We’ve had no previous warnings. You come to a war zone and being a target is on your mind, but you try not to think about it,” he said.
NBC has been at that hotel for 2 months.

Osama Hasan, an employee at Nabil restaurant, adjacent to the hotel, witnessed the blast. “We heard a powerful explosion and ran outside. I saw heavy smoke and dust and pieces of trash and wood and metal flying in the air. All the glass windows in the restaurant broke,” he said.

“It was a small bomb, because if it was a big bomb it would have destroyed the whole building,” Iraqi police Lieutenant-Colonel Salman Abed Karim told Reuters.

U.S. soldiers at the scene were distributing leaflets urging Iraqis to inform them of “terrorists making explosives that kill and wound Iraqi children. Those who make explosives don’t care about who they kill. Their only aim is terrorism and oppression.”