Ali Abdel Aziz

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Alerts   |   USA

In clearing soldiers in 2004 Iraq shooting, U.S. report leaves contradictions unaddressed


New York, May 24, 2007—A U.S. military report that exonerated U.S. troops in the killings of two Al-Arabiya journalists at a Baghdad checkpoint in 2004 failed to address contradictory witness reports, including statements from Al-Arabiya employees that at least two U.S. soldiers fired directly on the journalists’ vehicle, newly declassified records show.

The report, disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Committee to Protect Journalists, describes a chaotic scene in which the soldiers targeted a white Volvo that had failed to slow down as it neared the checkpoint. The 117-page report concluded that Al-Arabiya journalists Ali Abdul Aziz and Ali al-Khateeb were killed accidentally in the crossfire and that troops had properly followed the military’s rules of engagement.
May 24, 2007 12:00 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq

Attacks on the Press 2004: Iraq

Iraq

For the second consecutive year, Iraq was the most dangerous place in the world to work as a journalist, and the conflict there remained one of the most deadly in recent history for the media. Twenty-three journalists were killed in action in 2004, along with 16 media workers.

Reports   |   Australia, France, Germany, Iraq, Spain

Under Threat

Iraqi journalists frequently face hazardous conditions on the job.
By Joel Campagna and Hani Sabra

May 17, 2004 8:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Iraq

CPJ FILES FOIA REQUEST FOR FULL INVESTIGATION INTO DEATHS OF AL-ARABIYYA JOURNALISTS

New York, April 5, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain a copy of the classified investigation into the March 18 shooting by U.S. troops in Baghdad of two Iraqi journalists working for the Dubai-based Arabic satellite news channel Al-Arabiyya.

On Monday, March 29, the U.S. military said it had completed its investigation into the incident and accepted responsibility for the deaths of the two journalists, cameraman Ali Abdel Aziz and reporter Ali al-Khatib, who were shot in their car while leaving the scene of an attack on a Baghdad hotel near a U.S. military checkpoint.
April 5, 2004 12:00 PM ET

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Letters   |   Iraq

CPJ sends letter to Rumsfeld about the deaths of two journalists in Iraq

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is alarmed by the deaths of two journalists working for the United Arab Emirates-based news channel Al-Arabiyya in Baghdad last week. These deaths are especially troubling because they occurred just days before the military presented a detailed report on the August death of Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana that contained recommendations for creating safer conditions for journalists working in Iraq.

March 25, 2004 12:00 PM ET

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  |   Iraq

Ali al-Khatib

Cameraman Ali Abdel Aziz and reporter Ali al-Khatib of the United Arab Emirates-based news channel Al-Arabiya were shot dead near a U.S. military checkpoint in Baghdad.

The two journalists, along with a technician and a driver, were covering the aftermath of a rocket attack against the Burj al-Hayat Hotel, according to Al-Arabiya. The crew arrived at the scene in two vehicles and parked about 110 to 165 yards (100 to 150 meters) away from a checkpoint near the hotel. Technician Mohamed Abdel Hafez said that he, Abdel Aziz, and al-Khatib approached the soldiers on foot and spoke with them for a few minutes but were told they could not proceed.

As the three men prepared to depart, the electricity in the area went out and a car driven by an elderly man approached U.S. troops, crashing into a small metal barrier near a military vehicle at the checkpoint. Abdel Hafez said that as the crew pulled away from the scene, one of their vehicles was struck by gunfire from the direction of the U.S. troops. Abdel Hafez said he witnessed two or three U.S. soldiers firing but was not sure at whom they were firing. He said there had been no other gunfire in the area at the time.

Bullets passed through the rear windshield of the car in which Abdel Aziz and al-Khatib were driving. Abdel Aziz died instantly of a bullet wound, or wounds, to the head, while al-Khatib died in a hospital the next day, also due to head wounds.

According to press reports, the U.S. military commander in Iraq at the time, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, ordered an "urgent review" of the incident. On March 29, the U.S. military said it had completed its investigation and accepted responsibility for the deaths of the two journalists.

A statement posted on the Combined Joint Task Forces 7's Web site expressed "regret" for the deaths and said the investigation determined that the incident was an "accidental shooting." Press reports quoted U.S. military officials saying that the soldiers who had opened fire acted within the "rules of engagement."

The military's statement said the "investigation concluded that no soldiers fired intentionally" at the Al-Arabiya car. The military has said that the full investigative report is classified; CPJ has sought a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

March 19, 2004 12:05 AM ET

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  |   Iraq

Ali Abdel Aziz

Cameraman Ali Abdel Aziz and reporter Ali al-Khatib of the United Arab Emirates-based news channel Al-Arabiya were shot dead near a U.S. military checkpoint in Baghdad. The two journalists, along with a technician and a driver, were covering the aftermath of a rocket attack against the Burj al-Hayat Hotel, according to Al-Arabiya. The crew arrived at the scene in two vehicles and parked about 110 to 165 yards (100 to 150 meters) away from a checkpoint near the hotel. Technician Mohamed Abdel Hafez said that he, Abdel Aziz, and al-Khatib approached the soldiers on foot and spoke with them for a few minutes but were told they could not proceed.

As the three men prepared to depart, the electricity in the area went out and a car driven by an elderly man approached U.S. troops, crashing into a small metal barrier near a military vehicle at the checkpoint. Abdel Hafez said that as the crew pulled away from the scene, one of their vehicles was struck by gunfire from the direction of the U.S. troops. Abdel Hafez said he witnessed two or three U.S. soldiers firing but was not sure at whom they were firing. He said there had been no other gunfire in the area at the time.

Bullets passed through the rear windshield of the car in which Abdel Aziz and al-Khatib were driving. Abdel Aziz died instantly of a bullet wound, or wounds, to the head, while al-Khatib died in a hospital the next day, also due to head wounds.

According to press reports, the U.S. military commander in Iraq at the time, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, ordered an "urgent review" of the incident. On March 29, the U.S. military said it had completed its investigation and accepted responsibility for the deaths of the two journalists.

A statement posted on the Combined Joint Task Forces 7's Web site expressed "regret" for the deaths and said the investigation determined that the incident was an "accidental shooting." Press reports quoted U.S. military officials saying that the soldiers who had opened fire acted within the "rules of engagement."

The military's statement said the "investigation concluded that no soldiers fired intentionally" at the Al-Arabiya car. The military has said that the full investigative report is classified; CPJ has sought a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act.


March 18, 2004 12:02 AM ET

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8 results