FEBRUARY 9, 2005
Posted: February 10, 2005

Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Al-Hurra

Khazal, 40, and his son were gunned down outside their home around 8 a.m., Al-Hurra said in a statement. Khazal, who joined Al-Hurra in April 2004, also worked as a correspondent for the U.S.-funded radio station Radio Sawa, the station said.

Details of the shooting and the motive were not immediately clear. Al-Hurra News Director Mouafac Harb told CPJ that the station was still investigating the incident and was not immediately aware of any recent 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.”