Iraq: US troops kill Reuters soundman

A soundman working for Reuters TV was shot dead Aug. 28 in Baghdad, and a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by US soldiers. An Iraqi police report, read to Reuters by an Interior Ministry official, said the two had been shot by US forces. US military spokesman Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan said the incident was being investigated, and an official statement indicated that the troops were responding to an attack on an Iraqi police convoy when the journalists were shot. The death brings to 66 the number of journalists and their aides killed in Iraq since the start of the invasion in 2003, said Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based news media rights group. That surpasses the 63 journalists killed over 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, the group said.

The soundman, Waleed Khaled, 35, was struck by a bullet to the face and at least four to the chest as he drove to investigate a report from police sources of a shooting incident in the Hay al-Adil district in western Baghdad. Reuters colleagues who arrived shortly after the attack reported that the wounded cameraman, Haider Kadhem, said, “I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping center.” He was detained by US troops and remained in custody 12 hours later, despite requests by Reuters that he be freed to receive medical attention for a wound in his back.

The US military statement said: “Task Force Baghdad units responded to a terrorist attack on an Iraqi Police convoy around 11:20 a.m. Aug. 28 in central Baghdad, which killed and wounded several Iraqi police. One civilian was killed and another was wounded by small-arms fire during the attack. After discovering an abandoned car with explosives material, weapons and a cellphone, units began searching the area for the terror suspects who were believed to have fled on foot.”

Khaled had worked for Reuters for two years. He is survived by a wife and daughter. David Schlesinger, Reuters global managing editor, said: “This tragic incident must immediately be investigated thoroughly and impartially.” (Reuters, Aug. 29 via TruthOut)

See our last post on Iraq, and our recent feature on attacks on journalists in Iraq.

  1. Reporters Without Borders does the grisly math
    Also via TruthOut:

    Iraq Worse than Vietnam – In Number of Journalists Killed
    Editor & Publisher

    Sunday 28 August 2005

    Paris – More journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 than during the 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday.

    Since U.S. forces and its allies launched their campaign in Iraq on March 20, 2003, 66 journalists and their assistants have been killed, RSF said.

    The latest casualty was a Reuters Television soundman who was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday while a cameraman with him was wounded and then detained by U.S. soldiers.

    The death toll in Iraq compares with a total of 63 journalists in Vietnam, but which was over a period of 20 years from 1955 to 1975, the Paris-based organisation that campaigns to protect journalists said on its Web site.

    During the fighting in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995, 49 journalists were killed doing their job, while 57 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed during a civil war in Algeria from 1993 to 1996.

    RSF listed Iraq as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists. In addition to those killed, 22 have been kidnapped. All but one was released. Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni was executed by his captors.

    The media was targeted from the first days of the fighting, when cameraman Paul Moran, of the Australian TV network ABC, was killed by a car bomb on March 22, 2003, it added.

    Two other journalists have been missing since March 2003 and August 2004.