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Llewelyn Davies Yeang's Iraq plans hit by lethal bomb attack

Llewelyn Davies Yeang (LDY) has admitted that the future of its masterplan for the holy city of Najaf in Iraq is uncertain after a bomb attack on the Iraqi ministry backing the project.

Six people were killed and many more injured in an apparent assassination attempt on the country's Shi'a vice president Adil Abdul-Mahdi during a ceremony at the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works in Baghdad yesterday (26.02.07).

A year ago the same government department appointed LDY- famous for its Milton Keynes masterplan - to look at redesigning Najaf, which is in the less volatile southern part of Iraq and is one of the holiest sites in Shi'a Islam (AJ 02.02.06).

However, due to a rise in insurgency the practice, which became the first British firm to be asked to work in the country after the 'official' end of the war in 2003, has yet to set foot on Iraqi soil.

Nevertheless, during the last 12 months LDY's collaborator on the project, local firm ADEC, has managed to carry out around 90 per cent of the initial surveying and consultation work.

Before Monday's blast, LDY was hoping 'remote' technical work on the masterplan could begin in earnest soon.

On hearing the news, project leader Martin Crookston sent a letter to the ministry offering 'heartfelt sympathy' and 'our condolences to those bereaved, in the bomb attack'.

The letter went on to say: 'We were shocked to hear of this dreadful event, and we hope for a speedy recovery for those injured.'

by Richard Waite

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