New York, May 21, 2004— Rashid Hamid Wali, assistant cameraman and fixer for the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was killed by gunfire early this morning in the Iraqi city of Karbala, the station reported.
According to a statement on Al-Jazeera’s Web site, Wali was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head when he peered over the edge of the rooftop of the Khaddam Al-Hussein Hotel, where an Al-Jazeera news team was covering fighting between U.S. troops and members the Al-Mehdi army, which is loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
According to Al-Jazeera, there is “no verifiable information…as to the source of the bullet.” CPJ continues to investigate the incident.
In other developments, a cameraman working for the Dubai-based satellite station Al-Arabiyya was released today after being detained by U.S. troops yesterday, according to an employee at the station’s Baghdad office. U.S. soldiers picked up Al-Arabiyya cameraman Hassan Karim yesterday in Baghdad’s Al-Baya’a neighborhood, where he had gone after hearing reports of a possible explosion there.
Also Friday, a Spanish reporter for Spanish National Radio, Fran Sevilla, was released unharmed after being detained for four hours by Iraqi insurgents in Najaf, according to press reports.
Since the beginning of the war in March 2003, at least 28 journalists have been killed in the line of duty. Since January 2004, fifteen journalists have been killed, and 13 of those were Iraqis. Six media workers have also been killed.