Coalition official confirms that U.S. troops killed journalist

New York, April 21, 2004—Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the deputy director of operations for coalition forces in Iraq, confirmed yesterday that U.S. troops killed an Iraqi journalist and his driver near the Iraqi city of Samara, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Baghdad, on Monday.

Asaad Kadhim, a correspondent for the U.S. government–funded Al-Iraqiya TV, and his driver, Hussein Saleh, died after being struck by gunfire from U.S. forces near a checkpoint on Monday, April 19. Cameraman Jassem Kamel was injured in the shooting.

According to media reports, Kimmitt said yesterday that coalition forces at the checkpoint warned the journalists’ vehicle to stop by firing several warning shots. When the vehicle ignored those shots, Kimmitt said, forces fired at the car.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that Kimmitt said that there were signs in the area indicating that filming was banned at both the base and the checkpoint. According to the AP, Kimmitt said the signs were designed to prevent Iraqi insurgents from canvassing the area.

Cameraman Kamel told the AP that no warning shots had been fired at the vehicle.

CPJ continues to investigate the incident.