Blast from suicide bombing damage causes chaos at Baghdad's National Museum

Director warns of security risks in the capital


A suicide bombing that killed 59 people and wounded 250 outside Iraq’s foreign ministry on 19 August has also caused damage to the nearby National Museum. The truck bomb, in Baghdad’s Green Zone, blew off concrete slabs from the ten-storey foreign ministry building.

The blast also broke windows in the antiquities department offices and the museum. According to Lamia al-Gailani Werr, a London-based Mesopotamian archaeologist, informed sources in Baghdad have told her by telephone that there was “minor damage to objects on display”, when items fell off mounts. She is also worried that the National Museum appears to have no emergency plan to deal with such a situation, and many staff apparently panicked and fled the building, creating a security risk.

The bomb blast has strengthened the views of National Museum director Dr Amira Edan, who opposed government pressure to reopen the building. She argues that the security situation remains too unstable and the museum needs more time to reorganise, following the looting in 2003. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Iraq government is considering the establishment of a museum of Islamic antiquities.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Bomb blast damage to National Museum'