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TERRORISM

French diplomats targeted in Iraq bombing

Seven Iraqis were wounded as an improvised bomb struck a French embassy car in southern Baghdad on Monday, interior ministry and hospital sources said.

The embassy told AFP the bomb exploded as a single armoured car with four French guards on board was passing by and that no one inside was hurt.

“The bomb targeted a passing French diplomatic convoy. Four Iraqi guards protecting the convoy were hurt, and three people passing by were also wounded,” an interior ministry official told AFP earlier.

A medical source at Ibn Nafis hospital said it had received seven wounded Iraqis, among them four guards.

The bomb struck near the French ambassador’s residence in the Mesbah district of southern Baghdad, and an embassy vehicle damaged by the explosion was left at the site, an AFP journalist said.

“A single armoured vehicle carrying four French embassy guards was damaged by a roadside bomb at 8:17 a.m. (0517 GMT),” said Denis Gauer, the French ambassador who recently arrived in Baghdad to take up his post.

“No one in the car was hurt and there is no indication the bomb was especially targetting this vehicle,” he told AFP.

A witness said the bomb appeared to have been placed under a parked vehicle.   

“A bomb under a parked car exploded as soon as a blue 4×4 vehicle from the embassy arrived. The embassy car was hurled forward a few feet,” said Abu Hassan, who witnessed the explosion.

Violence has plummeted in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, when tens of thousands were killed in clashes between Sunni and Shiite Arabs and insurgent attacks. But bombings and kidnappings remain common.

Official figures put the death toll from attacks in May at 177, most of them killed by roadside bombs or with silencer-fitted handguns.  

In other attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, at least three people were killed and nine wounded by gunmen and bombs on Monday, an army colonel and interior ministry sources said.

The dead included the mayor of the town of Al-Shar in central Baquba province and a policeman in Baghdad, both killed by gunmen, they added. A car bomb also killed a civilian in a northeastern Baghdad district.

In the northern province of Kirkuk, gunmen kidnapped a 37-year-old businessman on Monday and and an 81-year-old optometrist the day before, a police source said.

Kidnappings are common across Iraq, especially in multi-ethnic and multi-religious Kirkuk.

The rise in violence comes with only months to go before US troops, in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, are due to complete a pullout under the terms of a bilateral security pact.

Monday’s attack comes as eight US soldiers have been killed on duty so far this month, and a June 14 raid by gunmen against government offices in the central city of Baquba in which seven people were killed.

Private security firm AKE Group said this month that attacks have been on the rise since the start of the year, with violent incidents averaging more than 10 a day in May, up from four to five a day in January.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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