Dear Mr. Secretary,
The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the U.S. military strike on Haifa Street in Baghdad on September 12, which killed at least 13 civilians and injured another 100 civilians.
Among the civilian casualties were three journalists who had rushed onto the streets that morning to cover the fighting, the heaviest in Baghdad in many weeks. Mazen al-Tumeizi, a reporter for the Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, was killed; Seif Fouad, a cameraman for Reuters news agency, and Ghaith Abdul Ahad, a freelance photographer working for Getty Images, were injured.
Mazen al-Tumeizi, a reporter for Al-Arabiya television, was killed after a U.S. helicopter fired missiles and machine guns to destroy a disabled American vehicle, international news reports said. Seif Fouad, a camera operator for Reuters Television, and Ghaith Abdul Ahad, a freelance photographer working for Getty Images, were wounded in the strike.
That day at dawn, fighting erupted on Haifa Street in the center of Baghdad, a U.S. Bradley armored vehicle caught fire, and its four crew members were evacuated with minor injuries, according to news reports. As a crowd gathered, one or more U.S. helicopters opened fire.
Video aired by Al-Arabiya showed that al-Tumeizi was preparing a report nearby when an explosion behind him caused him to double over and scream, "I'm dying, I'm dying." He died moments later, the Dubai-based station reported.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Steven Boylan told The Associated Press that a U.S. helicopter fired on the disabled Bradley vehicle to prevent looters from stripping it.
But Reuters quoted a statement from the military that presented a different account. "As the helicopters flew over the burning Bradley they received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle," the statement said. "Clearly within the rules of engagement, the helicopters returned fire, destroying some anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinity of the Bradley."