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the globe and mail: Red Cross confirms Canadian killed in Baghdad

Baghdad — The Canadian Red Cross confirmed Wednesday that a Canadian working with the International Red Cross has been killed in Iraq.

Vatche Arslanian was in charge of logistics for the Red Cross in Iraq.

The 48-year-old was caught in crossfire between U.S. and Iraqi forces Tuesday in Baghdad.

The Red Cross said Wednesday that a Canadian staffer is missing in Baghdad and likely seriously injured after the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by gunfire.

Mr. Arslanian, who was in charge of logistics for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, had not been seen since Tuesday afternoon, the agency said. Mr. Arslanian, a former deputy mayor of Oromocto, N.B., was one of six International Red Cross workers left in Iraq. Another is Kassandra Vartell of Calgary.

Two other ICRC staff members who were with Mr. Arslanian escaped and were able to reach the agency’s offices and raise the alarm.

“The ICRC has so far been unable to approach the area where its staff member was last seen. Delegates who tried to rescue him had to turn back because of the ongoing fighting. There is at present no news of his whereabouts or condition,” the ICRC said earlier Wednesday.

It said it was impossible to establish whether the vehicle was caught in crossfire or came under direct attack.

“The two vehicles were clearly marked with large red crosses visible from a distance,” the ICRC noted.

The ICRC is virtually the only aid agency working in Iraq at the moment and has six international employees in Baghdad along with local staff. ICRC staff have been unable to move about in Baghdad on Wednesday.

“Given the chaotic and totally unpredictable situation in the city, getting from one place to another involves incalculable risks,” spokesman Florian Westphal said.

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