February 9, 2005, in Basra, Iraq
Al-Hurra News Director Mouafac Harb told CPJ that the station was investigating the incident and was not aware of any threats against Khazal stemming from his work.
Agence France-Press reported that a previously unknown group calling itself The Imam al-Hassan al-Basri Brigades claimed responsibility for the shooting in a statement posted
on an Islamic Web site. Agence France-Presse said the posting accused Khazal of being a member of the Badr Brigades, a Shiite militia affiliated with Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The Associated Press reported that Khazal was a member of the rival Shiite political party Dawa, worked as an editor for a local newspaper, and served as a press officer for the Basra city council.
In an interview with CPJ, Harb disputed reports of Khazal's Shiite political affiliations and said the reporter "was killed because he was a journalist."
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.