Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 04:50 GMT 05:50 UK
Britons flee Baghdad embassy
The British embassy compound in Baghdad has been evacuated following a "credible threat" of attack.
Foreign Office sources told The Times British diplomats, security guards and contract workers had been moved under heavy guard to the coalition provisional authority (CPA) headquarters in the city.
Thousands of US troops are guarding the CPA compound, the newspaper reports.
The evacuation follows Tuesday's truck bombing of the UN's Baghdad headquarters, which killed 23 people including the UN's top official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Also killed in that attack was Fiona Watson, 35, of Pittenweem, Fife, a political affairs officer working for Mr de Mello. The blast wounded 100 people.
A Foreign Office official said: "We received information and subsequently relocated the staff to the security of the CPA."
The direct threat against British interests in Baghdad could further exacerbate the problem in Whitehall of finding candidates willing to serve in Baghdad, according to The Times.
"They are desperate for volunteers - but few people want to go," a Whitehall source told the paper.
The UN, which had requested low-key security for its Baghdad building to distinguish it from the coalition forces, has said it expects to withdraw up to 50% of its expatriates from the Iraqi capital.
Foreign secretary Jack Straw called Tuesday's bombing a "wake-up call" to the world, which showed the need for greater co-ordination between the coalition forces and the UN.
But the United States had to keep command of the joint military force in Iraq to maintain "an effective military operation", he said.
And it would not be practical for the organisation to take over the lead security role.