Clues Plentiful in Iraq Bombing, but They Lead Nowhere

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Investigators have recovered a severed hand, an Iraqi license plate and vehicle parts bearing a unique identification number from a Russian flatbed truck that carried the bomb that exploded Aug. 19 outside the United Nations mission in Baghdad, senior government officials told the New York Times.

Normally, such clues are enough to solve a case in the United States. But the officials said the evidence so far had proven to be of little help in Baghdad, where crime-solving techniques bump up against the harsh realities of postwar Iraq, which is almost devoid of police records, motor vehicle registration files and DNA and fingerprint databases.

The bombing at the United Nations compound killed 22 people, including 3 Americans and Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top United Nations envoy to Iraq. That and other attacks have underscored the tenacity of the resistance to the American-led occupation, the Times reports, as well as the futility of efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.


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