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As security guards hustled around, their earpieces buzzing, and journalists and members of Ban’s delegation chuckled nervously and gathered themselves, the prime minister’s interpreter, with barely a pause, pressed ahead and finished translating Ban’s last comment. Al-Maliki made one more statement – about plans for a regional conference in April – then turned to Ban and asked quietly, “That is enough?” “Yes,” Ban replied, and the two men disappeared through a door into another part of the house. Iraqi leaders played down the incident. Asked later what the reaction had been among the officials gathered elsewhere in the house, Ahmad Chalabi, the Shiite politician and former exile, shrugged and said, “Nothing.” While Iraq’s politicians may have become somewhat inured to the violence, the United Nations has not. The organization has been operating at low staffing levels since a truck bomb exploded next to its headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003, killing 22 staff members, including the chief U.N. representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. BAGHDAD, Iraq – A mortar shell fired into the heavily fortified Green Zone landed about 80 yards from the home of Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki on Thursday while he and the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, were holding a news conference to mark Ban’s first visit to Baghdad. Like most such attacks on the Green Zone, a favorite target for insurgents with mortars and rockets, the bombing caused some structural damage but no casualties. Its greatest impact was felt in the symbolic realm. Seconds before the shell struck, Ban said he was considering expanding the U.N. presence in Iraq because of an improvement in the security situation. The deafening explosion seemed to unnerve the secretary-general, who like almost everyone else in the room ducked his head as windows shattered outside and flecks of plaster drifted down from the ceiling. Al-Maliki barely shifted. A bodyguard rushed up to al-Maliki and grabbed his arm in an effort to lead him to another room, but the prime minister brushed him away, saying sharply, “It’s nothing.” When the bodyguard did not relent, the prime minister turned to him and snapped, “Go!” After initially withdrawing most of its non-Iraqi staff, the United Nations has gradually rebuilt its presence here, though staffing levels dipped around the New Year because of growing security concerns. The United Nations now operates from a well-protected compound inside the Green Zone – a Green Zone within a Green Zone, as it were – and its non-Iraqi staff members rarely travel in Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq.