IRAQ


Middle East and North Africa cases 2003: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press



MARCH 13, 2003

David Filipov, Boston Globe
EXPELLED

Filipov, a reporter for the Boston Globe, was expelled from Iraq for using his satellite phone to file a story from his room at the Al-Rashid Hotel in the capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi regulations dictated that foreign journalists could only use their satellite phones from the Press Center in Baghdad. On March 12, at the invitation of Iraqi authorities, Filipov and other journalists had observed a drone weapon that Iraq possessed, and the Globe asked Filipov to file a story, which he did from his room on the morning of the 13th.

Boston Globe foreign editor James Smith told CPJ that Filipov was notified of the decision to expel him that same afternoon, when he returned to the Press Center. The correspondent, whose satellite phone was confiscated by Iraqi authorities, arrived in Amman, Jordan, the next day.


MARCH 22, 2003

Fred Nerac, ITV
Hussein Othman, ITV
MISSING

ITV cameraman Nerac and translator Othman were reported missing after coming under fire while driving to the southern city of Basra, according to the press office of ITN, which produces ITV News. The journalists were not embedded with military forces. Terry Lloyd, the team's correspondent, was killed in the incident.

The crew, along with cameraman Daniel Demoustier, were driving in two marked press vehicles in the city of Iman Anas when they came under fire, according to ITN.

Demoustier, who was injured during the incident but managed to escape, was driving one of the vehicles. He said he did not see what happened to Lloyd, who was seated next to him, or to the other members of the crew.

"Heavy gunfire started toward my car from the right-hand side, and I had to duck down straight away," said Demoustier in an interview with ITV News. "A split second, and I looked to the right and the right door where my correspondent [Lloyd] was, and it was open and he was not there anymore."

Demoustier fled the area after joining other journalists who happened to be driving by.

Eric Campbell, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
ATTACKED

Campbell, a correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was injured when a suicide bomber detonated a car at a checkpoint in northeastern Iraq. Paul Moran, a freelance cameraman on assignment for ABC, was killed in the incident.

Michael Ware, Time magazine's northern Iraq correspondent and a witness to the incident, told his editor, Howard Chua-Eoan, that several foreign journalists were standing outside a checkpoint on the edge of Gerdigo, a town in northern Iraq near Halabja, interviewing people who were leaving the town in the wake of a U.S. cruise missile bombardment that began on March 21 and continued until the next day.

U.S. missiles were targeting strongholds of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group that the United States designates as a terrorist organization. The area where the journalists were conducting interviews was reportedly under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a rival of Ansar al-Islam that had just taken over the area.

At around 3 p.m., a taxi drove to the checkpoint near PUK soldiers and Moran, and the driver then detonated his vehicle. Most of the other journalists had just left the scene. Moran, who was filming at the time, was standing only a few feet from the checkpoint and was killed immediately. Campbell was injured by shrapnel.

Chua-Eoan said it appeared that the bomber was targeting the PUK soldiers, not the journalists. According to The Associated Press, at least four other people were killed in the bombing. Militants from Ansar al-Islam are believed to be responsible for the attack.

Chua-Eoan told CPJ that foreign journalists in northern Iraq had recently received warnings from U.S. State Department and Kurdish intelligence officials that Ansar al-Islam might target members of the media, as well as the hotel where most journalists were staying, the Sulaymaniyeh Palace.

Paul Moran, freelance
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Moran, a freelance cameraman on assignment for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was killed when a suicide bomber detonated a car at a checkpoint in northeastern Iraq. Another Australian journalist, ABC correspondent Eric Campbell, was injured in the incident.

Michael Ware, Time magazine's northern Iraq correspondent and a witness to the incident, told his editor, Howard Chua-Eoan, that several foreign journalists were standing outside a checkpoint on the edge of Gerdigo, a town in northern Iraq near Halabja, interviewing people who were leaving the town in the wake of a U.S. cruise missile bombardment that began on March 21 and continued until the next day.

U.S. missiles were targeting strongholds of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group that the United States designates as a terrorist organization. The area where the journalists were conducting interviews was reportedly under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a rival of Ansar al-Islam that had just taken over the area.

At around 3 p.m., a taxi drove to the checkpoint near PUK soldiers and Moran, and the driver then detonated his vehicle. Most of the other journalists had just left the scene. Moran, who was filming at the time, was standing only a few feet from the checkpoint and was killed immediately. Campbell was injured by shrapnel.

Chua-Eoan said it appeared that the bomber was targeting the PUK soldiers, not the journalists. According to The Associated Press, at least four other people were killed in the bombing. Militants from Ansar al-Islam are believed to be responsible for the attack.

Chua-Eoan told CPJ that foreign journalists in northern Iraq had recently received warnings from U.S. State Department and Kurdish intelligence officials that Ansar al-Islam might target members of the media, as well as the hotel where most journalists were staying, the Sulaymaniyeh Palace.


MARCH 23, 2003

Robert Valdec, freelance
EXPELLED

Valdec, a Croatian freelance journalist, was expelled from the capital, Baghdad, after he conducted a live interview with CNN, which had been expelled from Iraq a week earlier. Valdec, who had been in Baghdad for three weeks reporting for the Croatian Commercial Network, the Serbian Independent Network, the Bosnian Independent Network, and a variety of other Balkan news outlets, was reprimanded and told to leave the city after speaking on air with CNN from his hotel room on March 22.

According to Valdec, who spoke to CPJ from his hotel room in Amman, Jordan, armed Iraqi officials arrived at his Baghdad hotel room within 20 minutes of the CNN interview. Valdec said he was not in the room at the time but could see the armed guards at his door from an adjacent room.

The general manager of the Information Ministry later asked Valdec to leave Baghdad immediately. Valdec said he persuaded the manager to allow him to leave the next morning, after the U.S. and coalition bombing campaign had ceased. Iraqi officials escorted Valdec to the Jordanian border.

Terry Lloyd, ITV
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Lloyd, a veteran correspondent with ITV News, was confirmed dead on March 23 by the British TV network ITN, which produces ITV News. The previous day, he had disappeared after coming under fire while driving to the southern city of Basra.

Two others disappeared with Lloyd, cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman. They remain missing.

The three men, along with cameraman Daniel Demoustier, were traveling in two marked press vehicles in the town of Iman Anas, near Al-Zubayr, when they came under fire, ITN reported. According to Demoustier, the car he and Lloyd had been driving had been pursued by Iraqi troops who may have been attempting to surrender to the journalists. Demoustier reported that the incoming fire to their vehicles likely came from U.S. or British forces in the area.

Demoustier, who was injured when the car he was driving crashed into a ditch and caught fire, managed to escape. He said he did not see what happened to Lloyd, who was seated next to him, or to the other crew members. Lloyd's body was recovered in a hospital in Basra days later.

An investigative article published in the Wall Street Journal in May indicated that Lloyd's SUV and another vehicle belonging to his colleagues came under fire from U.S. Marines. The article cited accounts from U.S. troops who recalled opening fire on cars marked "TV." Soldiers also said they believed that Iraqi suicide bombers were using the cars to attack U.S. troops.

The Journal article cited a report from a British security firm commissioned by ITN to investigate the incident saying that Lloyd's car was hit by both coalition and Iraqi fire; the latter most likely came from behind the car, possibly after the vehicle had crashed.

The report concluded that "[t]he Iraqis no doubt mounted an attack using the ITN crew as cover, or perhaps stumbled into the U.S. forces whilst attempting to detain the ITN crew." The report also speculated that the missing journalists—Nerac and Othman, who were last seen by Demoustier in another car being stopped by Iraqi forces—might have been pulled out of their car before it came under fire from coalition forces, and then Iraqi forces used the SUV to attack the coalition forces.

In April, Nerac's wife approached U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at a NATO press conference, and he promised to do everything in his power to find out what had happened to the missing men. In late May, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said it was investigating the incident, while the British Ministry of Defense promised to open an inquiry. Neither had made public any results as of October.

In September, London's The Daily Mirror newspaper reported the testimony of an Iraqi man named Hamid Aglan, who had allegedly tried to rescue the wounded Lloyd in a civilian minibus. Aglan told the newspaper that he had picked up a lightly wounded Lloyd, who had suffered only a shoulder injury, and attempted to take him to a hospital in Basra when the minibus came under fire from a U.S. helicopter, killing Lloyd. The paper reported that the bus was also carrying wounded Iraqi soldiers.

An ITN spokesperson told CPJ that a number of elements of Aglan's story are not consistent with ITN's own investigation. She said an autopsy revealed that Lloyd had suffered two serious wounds that likely resulted from Iraqi and U.S. fire. She said that after he was wounded, an Iraqi civilian in a minibus had picked up Lloyd and tried to take him to a hospital in Basra. The minibus later came under U.S. attack. "It was a gunshot to the bus and [Terry] was probably in the bus," she said. ITN investigators believe that either wound that Lloyd sustained would have been fatal.


APRIL 2, 2003

Steve Hughes, BBC
ATTACKED

Hughes, a producer for the BBC, was injured when Iranian freelance cameraman Kaveh Golestan stepped on a land mine in northern Iraq, the BBC confirmed. Golestan died from his injuries

Golestan, who was on assignment for the BBC, accidentally detonated the mine when he exited his car near the town of Kifri, John Morrissey of the BBC's foreign desk told CPJ. The cameraman was traveling as part of a four-person BBC crew, along with Tehran, Iran, bureau chief Jim Muir, producer Hughes, and translator Rabeen Azad. Hughes' foot was injured and later treated by U.S. military medics. Muir and the translator suffered light cuts, Morrissey said.

Golestan, who was also a well-known still photographer, had worked frequently with the BBC from its Tehran bureau.

Kaveh Golestan, freelance
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Golestan, an Iranian freelance cameraman on assignment for the BBC, was killed in northern Iraq after stepping on a land mine, the BBC confirmed.

Golestan accidentally detonated the mine when he exited his car near the town of Kifri, John Morrissey of the BBC's foreign desk told CPJ. The cameraman was traveling as part of a four-person BBC crew, along with Tehran, Iran, bureau chief Jim Muir, producer Steve Hughes, and translator Rabeen Azad. Hughes' foot was injured and later treated by U.S. military medics. Muir and the translator suffered light cuts, Morrissey said.

Golestan, who was also a well-known still photographer, had worked frequently with the BBC from its Tehran bureau.


APRIL 3, 2003

Michael Kelly, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Kelly, editor-at-large of the Atlantic Monthly and a columnist with the Washington Post, was killed while traveling with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division just south of the Baghdad airport, according to a statement from the Washington Post.

According to press reports, when the humvee in which Kelly was riding came under Iraqi fire, the soldier driving the vehicle tried to evade the attack, and the jeep ran off the road and rolled into a canal. Both Kelly and the driver drowned.

Kelly, who had previously served as the editor of the New Republic and the National Journal, was the first U.S. journalist killed while covering the war.


APRIL 7, 2003

Christian Liebig, Focus
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Liebig, a reporter for the German weekly magazine Focus, died in an Iraqi missile attack while accompanying the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division south of the capital, Baghdad. Both Liebig and Julio Anguita Parrado, a Spanish journalist also killed in the incident, were embedded with the division, according to Agence France-Presse.

According to Focus Editor-in-Chief Helmut Markwort, the two men had decided not to travel with the unit to Baghdad, believing they would be safer at the base. Two U.S. soldiers were also killed during the attack, and 15 were injured.

Liebig, 35, had worked for Focus since 1999.


Julio Anguita Parrado, El Mundo
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Parrado, a correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, died in an Iraqi missile attack while accompanying the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division south of the capital, Baghdad. Both Parrado and Christian Liebig, a German journalist for Focus magazine who was also killed in the incident, were embedded with the division, according to Agence France-Presse.

According to Focus Editor-in-Chief Helmut Markwort, the two men had decided not to travel with the unit to Baghdad, believing they would be safer at the base. Two U.S. soldiers were also killed during the attack, and 15 were injured. Parrado was the second El Mundo correspondent to have been killed in conflict in almost two years: Correspondent Julio Fuentes died after gunmen ambushed his convoy in Afghanistan in 2001.

Parrado was the son of the former leader of Spain's communist-led United Left coalition.


APRIL 8, 2003

Tareq Ayyoub, Al-Jazeera
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Ayyoub, a Jordanian national working with the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was killed when a U.S. missile struck the station's Baghdad bureau, which was located in a two-story villa in a residential area near the Iraqi Information Ministry and the former presidential palace compound of Saddam Hussein. Al-Jazeera cameraman Zouhair Nadhim, who was outside on the building's roof with Ayyoub, was injured in the blast, which targeted a small electric generator outside the building.

U.S. Central Command (Centcom) maintains that U.S. forces were responding to enemy fire in the area and that the Al-Jazeera journalists were caught in the crossfire. Al-Jazeera correspondents deny that any fire came from their building.

The attack occurred during heavy fighting around the bureau, in an area that housed government buildings targeted by U.S. and coalition forces. Al-Jazeera officials pointed out that the U.S. military had been given the bureau's exact coordinates weeks before the war began.

In an April 8 letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CPJ protested the bombing and called for an immediate investigation. In October, a Centcom spokesman confirmed to CPJ that no investigation into the incident has been conducted.

The incident occurred around dawn, after intense antiaircraft fire began in the area. Talk show host and producer Maher Abdullah, a five-year Al-Jazeera veteran who had been in Baghdad for two weeks at the time, told CPJ that planes began flying low in the area at around 6 a.m.

The crew went up to the roof of the building to report but retreated because they deemed it unsafe. According to Abdullah, the crew realized moments later that their still camera had been knocked out of position and now faced the Ministry of Information building, which Iraqi authorities had explicitly warned the crew not to film. Assistant cameraman Nadhim returned to the roof with Ayyoub to adjust the camera.

When Ayyoub and Nadhim went upstairs, Abdullah heard a plane fly so low that it sounded like it was going to crash into the building. At that point, a missile struck Al-Jazeera's small generator, which was located outside the building at ground level just below where Ayyoub was believed to have been at the time. Two Al-Jazeera correspondents said that while they suspect that the strike caused his death, he could have been killed by other ordnance.

Another plane passed low about 15 minutes later and fired another missile, which struck across the road about 50 feet (15 meters) from the front door, blowing it off the hinges, according to Abdullah.

Raed Khattar, a cameraman for Abu Dhabi TV who, at the time, was outside on the nearby roof of Abu Dhabi TV's office, saw what was likely the first missile because his office was between the plane and Al-Jazeera's office, he told CPJ.

Moments later, Abu Dhabi TV staff on the roof came under machine gun fire from a U.S. tank on the nearby Jumhuriyya Bridge, and one of their three unmanned cameras was struck by a shell, staff told CPJ. The three-story building was marked with a large banner labeled "Abu Dhabi TV."

In a statement issued hours after the incident, Centcom in Doha, Qatar, said that, "According to commanders on the ground, Coalition forces came under significant enemy fire from the building where the Al-Jazeera journalists were working, and consistent with the right of self-defense, Coalition forces returned fire. Sadly, an Al-Jazeera correspondent was killed in this exchange."

Abdullah noted that until that morning antiaircraft fire in the area had been sporadic. Days before April 8, Abdullah saw manned Iraqi antiaircraft positions in the general vicinity—some 220 yards (200 meters) away on the opposite side of the generator but not immediately near the office. However, three days later, he discovered one antiaircraft gun about 44 yards (40 meters) from the bureau.

Just before the war, CPJ obtained a copy of the February 24 letter that then Al-Jazeera Managing Director Mohammed Jasem al-Ali had sent to then Pentagon spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke, specifying the coordinates of the bureau.

Al-Jazeera also maintains that the night before the strike, al-Ali had received explicit assurances from U.S. State Department official Nabeel Khoury, in Doha, Qatar, that the bureau was safe and would not be targeted. Abdullah told CPJ, "The coordinates were actually given four months in advance to the Pentagon, and we were assured that we would not be hit under any circumstances. ... We would never be targeted, that was the assurance."

In an e-mail reply to CPJ, Khoury, who said he did not recall the exact date of his meeting with Al-Jazeera, said, "I doubt very much that I assured anybody's safety in a war zone." He added that he did tell the station "what we had been telling all diplomats and civilians, that whereas our troops would do their utmost not to hurt civilians, there was no way to guarantee anyone's safety in a war zone."

In its April 8 letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, CPJ also noted that, "The attack against Al-Jazeera is of particular concern since the station's offices were also hit in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2001. The Pentagon asserted, without providing additional detail, that the office was a ‘known Al-Qaeda facility,' and that the U.S. military did not know the space was being used by Al-Jazeera."

CPJ is still waiting for the Defense Department to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request related to the incident that CPJ filed in May.

José Couso, Telecinco
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish television station Telecinco, died after a U.S. tank fired a shell at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, , where most journalists in the city were based during the war. At around 12 p.m., a shell hit two hotel balconies where several journalists were monitoring a battle in the vicinity. Taras Protsyuk, a Ukranian cameraman for Reuters, was also killed in the attack

Agence France-Presse reported that Couso was hit in his jaw and right leg. He was taken to Saint Raphael Hospital, where he died during surgery. Couso was married with two children.

Directly after the attack, Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, confirmed that a single shell had been fired at the hotel from a tank in response to what he said was rocket and small-arms fire from the building. Journalists at the hotel deny that any gunfire had emanated from the building.

A CPJ report concluded that the shelling of the hotel, while not deliberate, was avoidable since U.S. commanders knew that journalists were present in the hotel and were intent on not hitting it. The report called on the Pentagon to conduct a thorough and public investigation into the incident.

On August 12, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) issued a news release summarizing the results of its investigation into the incident. The report concluded that the tank unit that opened fire on the hotel did so "in a proportionate and justifiably measured response." It called the shelling "fully in accordance with the Rules of Engagement."

Centcom offered some detail—consistent with CPJ's investigation—that the tank opened fire at what it believed was an Iraqi "spotter" directing enemy fire at U.S. troops. The release also explained that "one 120mm tank round was fired at the suspected enemy observer position. ... It was only some time after the incident that A Company became aware of the fact that the building they fired on was the Palestine Hotel and that journalists at the hotel had been killed or injured as a result."

However, the news release failed to address one of the conclusions in CPJ's report: That U.S. commanders knew that journalists were in the Palestine Hotel but failed to convey this knowledge to forces on the ground.

Centcom's results, which were summarized in the release, appeared to back away from earlier charges by U.S. military officials that the tank unit was responding to hostile fire emanating from the hotel. Yet, despite considerable testimony to the contrary from several journalists in the hotel, Centcom maintains "that the enemy used portions of the hotel as a base of operations and that heavy enemy activity was occurring in those areas in and immediately around the hotel."

In addition, the news release failed to provide other specific information, such as how the decision to target the hotel was made.

CPJ has urged Centcom to make the full report available, but a Centcom spokesperson told CPJ the report is classified. CPJ is still waiting for the Defense Department to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request related to the incident that CPJ filed in May.

Taras Protsyuk, Reuters
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Protsyuk, a cameraman for Reuters, died after a U.S. tank fired a shell at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, where most journalists in the city were based during the war. At around 12 p.m., a shell hit two hotel balconies where several journalists were monitoring a battle in the vicinity. José Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish television station Telecinco, also died in the attack.

Agence France-Presse reported that Protsyuk died of wounds to his head and stomach. He had worked for Reuters since 1993, covering conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. He was married with an 8-year-old son.

Directly after the attack, Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, confirmed that a single shell had been fired at the hotel from a tank in response to what he said was rocket and small-arms fire from the building. Journalists at the hotel denied that any gunfire had emanated from the building.

A CPJ report concluded that the shelling of the hotel, while not deliberate, was avoidable since U.S. commanders knew that journalists were present in the hotel and were intent on not hitting it. The report called on the Pentagon to conduct a thorough and public investigation into the incident.

On August 12, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) issued a news release summarizing the results of its investigation into the incident. The report concluded that the tank unit that opened fire on the hotel did so "in a proportionate and justifiably measured response." It called the shelling "fully in accordance with the Rules of Engagement."

Centcom offered some detail—consistent with CPJ's investigation—that the tank opened fire at what it believed was an Iraqi "spotter" directing enemy fire at U.S. troops. The release also explained that "one 120mm tank round was fired at the suspected enemy observer position. ... It was only some time after the incident that A Company became aware of the fact that the building they fired on was the Palestine Hotel and that journalists at the hotel had been killed or injured as a result."

However, the news release failed to address one of the conclusions in CPJ's report: That U.S. commanders knew that journalists were in the Palestine Hotel but failed to convey this knowledge to forces on the ground.

Centcom's results, which were summarized in the release, appeared to back away from earlier charges by U.S. military officials that the tank unit was responding to hostile fire emanating from the hotel. Yet, despite considerable testimony to the contrary from several journalists in the hotel, Centcom maintains "that the enemy used portions of the hotel as a base of operations and that heavy enemy activity was occurring in those areas in and immediately around the hotel."

In addition, the news release failed to provide other specific information, such as how the decision to target the hotel was made.

CPJ has urged Centcom to make the full report available, but a Centcom spokesperson told CPJ the report is classified. CPJ is still waiting for the Defense Department to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request related to the incident that CPJ filed in May.


JUNE 24, 2003

Nic Robertson, CNN
Rym Brahimi, CNN
EXPELLED

Iraqi officials expelled CNN correspondents Robertson and Brahimi, as well as a producer and a cameraman. The team was ordered to leave the country and departed to Amman, Jordan.

According to press reports, Iraqi officials considered the reporting of the CNN crew biased. In 2002, Iraqi officials expelled CNN correspondent Jane Arraf from the country.


JULY 5, 2003

Richard Wild, freelance
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Wild, a 24-year-old British freelance cameraman, died after being gunned down in central Baghdad. An unidentified assailant approached him and shot him in the head at close range on a street near Baghdad's Natural History Museum, according to international press reports. Some of the reports stated that Wild was not carrying a camera or wearing any clothing that would have identified him as a journalist. CPJ is investigating the incident.


JULY 6, 2003

Jeremy Little, freelance
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Little, a freelance soundman working for the U.S.-based television network NBC, died of complications from injuries sustained during a grenade attack in central Iraq the previous week.

Little was injured in a grenade attack in the Iraqi town of Fallujah on June 29, while embedded with U.S. troops, and died of "post-operative complications," according to a statement from NBC News. Little, a 27-year-old Australian national who was embedded with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division for NBC News, had been receiving treatment at a military hospital in Germany.


AUGUST 11, 2003

Hassan Fattah, Iraq Today
HARASSED

U.S. forces detained Fattah, editor of the English-language daily Iraq Today, after preventing him from attending a press conference. In an e-mail to CPJ, Fattah described the incident, which occurred at Baghdad's conference center when he attempted to gain entry to cover the Iraqi Governing Council's press conference that day. CPJ independently confirmed his account.

Fattah said that he came to the center five minutes after journalists were supposed to arrive and was told by a U.S. Army major that he was not allowed to enter. Fattah proceeded to the line in the center's hallway anyway and said that several other journalists were lined up behind him. When he arrived at the security check, the same major asked him to step out of the line and told him again that he would not be granted entry to the conference center. Fattah said that other journalists who were behind him in the line were allowed to proceed without trouble.

Fattah said that after he and the major heatedly argued, several soldiers wrestled him to the ground, handcuffed him, and took him away. His press card was confiscated and he was told that he would not be able to return to the center. His card was later returned. In an e-mail to Fattah, Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Charles Heatley did not comment on the incident but said that Fattah would be allowed to enter the conference center and cover events.


AUGUST 17, 2003

Mazen Dana, Reuters
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Dana, a veteran conflict cameraman for Reuters news agency, was killed by machine gun fire from a U.S. tank near the capital, Baghdad. Dana was struck in the torso while filming near Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad, in the afternoon. He had been reporting with a colleague near the prison after a mortar attack had killed six Iraqis there the previous night. The soldier in the tank who fired on Dana did so without warning, while the journalist filmed the vehicle approaching him from about 55 yards (50 meters).

U.S. military officials said the soldier who opened fire mistook Dana's camera for a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. There was no fighting taking place in the area, and the journalists had been operating in the vicinity of the prison with the knowledge of U.S. troops near the prison gates.

In an August 18 letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, CPJ protested the shooting, stating that it raised "serious questions about the conduct of U.S. troops and their rules of engagement."

On September 22, the U.S. military announced that it had concluded its investigation into the incident. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) in Iraq told CPJ that while Dana's killing was "regrettable," the soldiers "acted within the rules of engagement." No further details were provided. The results of the investigation have not been made public. A Centcom spokesman said other details of the report are classified.

Dana's soundman, Nael Shyioukhi, who witnessed the incident, told CPJ that he and Dana arrived at the prison with their driver, Munzer Abbas, in the late afternoon. According to Shyioukhi, several journalists were also in the area. Shyioukhi said that after a short while Dana suggested that they approach the prison gates to begin filming. At one point, Dana identified himself to a U.S. soldier as a journalist from Reuters and asked if a spokesman was available to comment on camera about the attack the previous night. The soldier replied that he could not comment, and no spokesmen were available. Dana then asked the soldier if he and Shyioukhi could film the prison from a nearby bridge. According to Shyioukhi, the soldier politely told them they were welcome to do so.

After filming from the bridge, located between 330 and 660 yards (300 and 600 meters) from the prison, Dana and Shyioukhi, who were wearing jeans and T-shirts, packed their equipment in their car and began to head off for the Reuters office. As they approached the main road to the prison, Dana noticed a convoy of tanks approaching and told Abbas to stop so he could film it. According to Shyioukhi, he and Dana were not apprehensive because the area was calm, and it was apparent that U.S. troops were in complete control. Neither Dana nor Shyioukhi was wearing a flak jacket, and their car was not marked press.

Dana exited the car and set up his blue, canvas-encased camera with a white microphone facing the tanks while Shyioukhi lit a cigarette. Shyioukhi said Dana had been filming for about 10 seconds when suddenly, without warning, several shots rang out from the lead tank, which was approximately 55 yards (50 meters) away.

Shyioukhi ducked for cover, then heard Dana scream and saw him place his hand on his stomach, which was bleeding profusely. He said that within moments of the shooting, approximately six U.S. soldiers, including the one who shot Dana, surrounded them. Shyioukhi recounted that the soldier who shot Dana screamed at Shyioukhi to "stand back."

A doctor arrived on an armored personnel carrier (APC) within moments and tried to stop the bleeding. The APC took Dana back to the prison complex for treatment and to get him evacuated to a hospital.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Guy Shields called Dana's death a "tragic incident" and promised to do everything to avoid a similar incident in the future. When questioned by London's Independent about the rules of engagement for U.S. troops, Shields said, "I can't give you details on the rules of engagement, but the enemy is not in formations, they are not wearing uniforms. During wartime, firing a warning shot is not a necessity. There is no time for a warning shot if there is potential for an ambush."

Some journalists at the scene questioned how troops could mistake the camera for a weapon. And according to experts who train war correspondents, although one might easily mistake a camera for an RPG launcher at a distance, a camera would be clearly visible from 55 to 110 yards (50 to 100 meters)—the distance from which Dana was hit.

AUGUST 25, 2003
Posted: July 26, 2005

Ahmad Kareem, Kurdistan TV
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Kareem, director of Kurdistan TV's Mosul bureau, was shot and killed by U.S. forces outside the bureau's office along the Tigris River. Kurdistan TV staff and an official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which runs Kurdistan TV, told CPJ that Kareem was sitting outside with a colleague writing a news report when a U.S. river patrol exchanged fire with an armed group situated on the same river bank as Kurdistan TV. Kareem and his colleague were shot as they sought refuge in the bureau. The colleague, a cameraman, survived.

Kareem and his colleague had decided to work outside because there was no electricity in the building and the office was excessively hot.

Bakhtiar Talabani, media director in Kirkuk for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said U.S. military officials visited the family's home days later to express their condolences and provide his children with a sum of money. The U.S. military has not investigated the incident nor has it issued an official apology.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2003

Atwar Bahgat, Al-Jazeera
Yasser Bahgat, Al-Jazeera
HARASSED

U.S. troops detained Al-Jazeera correspondent Atwar Bahgat and her cameraman, Yasser Bahgat (no relation), in the Ghazaliya section of the capital, Baghdad. Atwar Bahgat told CPJ that she and her cameraman were filming near the Ghazaliya Bridge, which U.S. troops had sealed after an explosion allegedly occurred earlier that day. When a U.S. soldier approached them and ordered them to back away from the bridge, the journalists complied, but when they continued filming, soldiers grabbed Yasser Bahgat.

According to Atwar Bahgat, the soldiers put both journalists into a humvee and took them to a detention center at Baghdad Airport, where U.S. forces asked them how they had learned about the explosion. One interrogator accused the journalists of knowing about the bombing before it happened. They were released the next day after spending the night in detention.

U.S. Central Command spokesmen, as well as spokesmen for Coalition Forces in Iraq, had no details about the incident. However, The Associated Press quoted an unnamed military spokesman as saying that the journalists had violated unspecified "ground rules."


SEPTEMBER 23, 2003
Posted: September 23, 2003

Al-Jazeera
Al-Arabiyya
HARASSED

Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council announced that it will bar reporters with the Arabic satellite channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya from covering official press conferences and from entering official buildings for two weeks, according to press reports and a Governing Council source.

Reuters quoted Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for council chairman Ahmed Chalabi, as saying that the decision came because the stations incite "sectarian differences in Iraq," "political violence," and the murders of Governing Council and U.S. Coalition members.

The Associated Press (AP) quoted council officials as saying that the stations also failed to disclose information about pending attacks on U.S. troops.

It is not clear what specific broadcasts prompted the sanctions.

Karim Kadim, The Associated Press
HARASSED

U.S. soldiers detained photographer Kadim and his driver Mohammed Abbas near Abu Ghraib, just outside Baghdad. According to the associated Press (AP), both men were handcuffed and forced to stand in the sun for three hours while being denied water and the use of a telephone. "Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division kept their guns trained on them, despite repeated attempts to explain they were journalists," the AP said.

"We identified ourselves from the very beginning as press, even before we approached the troops. I was asked not to take any pictures and I didn't. We were told to leave and we walked away, and then one of them shouted at us to come back," Kadim was quoted as saying. A U.S. military official later apologized for the incident, calling it a "misunderstanding."

SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
Posted: September 25, 2003

NBC
ATTACKED

A bomb exploded at the Baghdad hotel that housed the NBC crew, killing a hotel security guard and causing light injuries to NBC News soundman David Moodie.

NBC News reported that a small explosive device detonated at around 7 a.m. outside of the Al-Aike Hotel in central Baghdad where NBC News has based its Iraq operations during the last two months. Citing Iraqi police, NBC said that the bomb had been placed just outside the hotel, in a hut that housed a hotel generator.

NBC reporter Jim Avila said that NBC News was the only occupant of the hotel, and that the building had no identifiable markings indicating NBC's presence.


OCTOBER 19, 2003
Posted: October 31, 2003

Patrick Baz, Agence France-Presse
Hamza al-Badri, Reuters
HARASSED

Photographer Baz and cameraman al-Badri were briefly detained by Iraqi police in the city of Fallujah, 25 miles west of Baghdad. The two had arrived in Fallujah in the early afternoon to report on a morning attack on a U.S. convoy.

Baz told CPJ that the two were invited by Iraqi police to attend a press conference at the Fallujah police station. Baz said that only after arriving at the station were the journalists told that they were being detained. He said the Iraqi officers, who did not put them behind bars, treated them well and told the journalists that they had detained them on U.S. Army orders. The Iraqi officers apologized for not knowing the reason for their detention.

Baz said that after several hours, the two were transferred form the police station to the nearby U.S. 82nd Airborne Division base. While there, Baz said that he asked a U.S. officer why they were being held. The officer said that there were reports that Iraqi resistance fighters had filmed the attack on the U.S. convoy, and that they were looking for the person who filmed the attack because that person would have had advance knowledge of the attack.

Baz and al-Badri were released that evening.


OCTOBER 28, 2003
Posted: October 28, 2003

Ahmed Shawkat, Bilah Ittijah
KILLED

According to The Associated Press (AP) and an Agence France-Presse correspondent in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Shawkat, editor of the Iraqi weekly Bilah Ittijah (Without Direction), was shot and killed by a gunman. The gunman and an accomplice had followed the journalist to his office roof this afternoon.

Shawkat's daughter, Roaa, told AP that her father had received threatening letters several weeks earlier warning him to close his newspaper. Local police are investigating the murder.

No further details are available at this time. CPJ continues to monitor the case.


NOVEMBER 14, 2003
Posted November 14, 2003

Maria João Ruela, Sociedade Independente de Comunicação
Rui do O, Sociedade Independente de Comunicação
ATTACKED
Carlos Raleiras, TSF
ATTACKED, KIDNAPPED

Unidentified Iraqi gunmen opened fire on a convoy of Portuguese journalists and abducted one reporter in southern Iraq.

According to news reports and Portuguese editors who spoke with CPJ, the gunmen—who were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and other small arms—attempted to intercept a three-jeep convoy carrying between six and nine Portuguese journalists. The journalists had been heading north from the Kuwaiti border to the southern Iraqi city of Basra when the attack occurred early this morning.

When one of the jeeps refused to stop, the assailants opened fire, wounding Ruela, a reporter with the television channel Sociedade Independente de Comunicação (SIC). She was shot in the buttocks, according to SIC foreign editor Martim Cabral, who spoke with the journalist after the incident. Cabral said that the attackers forced Ruela, her cameraman, do O, and Raleiras, a reporter for the Portuguese radio station TSF, out of their jeep. The assailants then pushed Raleiras back into the jeep and sped away, he said.

Cabral said that Iraqi civilians later picked up the two journalists and took them to Basra, where British medics treated Ruela for her injuries. He said Ruela is in good condition.

The two other jeeps in the convoy eluded the attackers and fled to Basra unharmed.

TSF's Web site reported that its editors managed to contact the journalist on his cell phone, and that he told them he had been kidnapped but was in good health.

TSF editor Nuno Saraiva told CPJ that station officials have been unable to contact the journalist for several hours and fear that Raleiras' phone battery has gone dead. Saraiva said that British forces are in contact with the kidnappers, who have demanded a ransom, which some television reports put at US$50,000.

TSF reported that British troops were deployed in the area in an attempt to locate the missing journalist.


NOVEMBER 24, 2003
Posted November 24, 2003

Al-Arabiyya

CENSORED

The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council closed the Baghdad offices of the Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiyya for an indefinite period, according to press reports.

The move came after the station aired an audiotape on November 16 purportedly of Saddam Hussein urging Iraqis to resist the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

"We have decided to ban Al-Arabiyya for a certain time because it broadcast an invitation to murder, an incitement to murder by the voice of Saddam Hussein," said council President Jalal Talabani, according to Agence France-Presse.

Al-Arabiyya News Director Saleh Negm told CPJ he received a written statement from the council stating that Al-Arabiyya's equipment had been confiscated, and that its staff was barred from working in Iraq under penalty of fines and up to one year in prison. Negm said the statement added that the ban would remain in effect until Al-Arabiyya could guarantee that it would abide by unspecified "rules."

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a member of the council who heads its Media Committee, accused Al-Arabiyya of "inciting violence, encouraging sectarian rifts, and encouraging terrorism." He said the broadcast of the recent Saddam Hussein tape was not the only reason for the closure. Without providing details, Al-Rubaie alleged that on two previous occasions, the station had reported acts of violence before they occurred. He also accused Al-Arabiyya correspondents of encouraging masked militants to make inciting statements on air. Negm told CPJ he adamantly denies both charges and alleges that U.S. and Iraqi officials are waging a smear campaign against the station because they think its coverage is too negative.


DECEMBER 11, 2003
Posted: December 11, 2003

Michael Weisskopf, Time
James Nachtwey, Time
ATTACKED

Weisskopf, a correspondent with the U.S. newsmagazine Time, and Nachtwey, a photographer with the publication, were wounded in a grenade attack in Baghdad while accompanying U.S. troops.

The journalists suffered undisclosed injuries when unidentified assailants threw a grenade into a Humvee the men were traveling in, Time managing editor Jim Kelly said in a written statement. Two soldiers in the Humvee were also injured in the attack, which occurred at about 9:30 p.m.

The statement described both journalists as being in "stable condition" and said they were awaiting transfer to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.