New York, April 25, 2005—An Iraqi cameraman working for Associated Press Television News was killed on Saturday while covering fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul, bringing to 41 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since March 2003.
Saleh Ibrahim was killed by gunfire near the city’s al-Yarmouk Circle, the scene of an earlier explosion that he and his brother-in-law, AP photographer Mohamed Ibrahim, had gone to cover, according to The Associated Press. The AP said Mohamed Ibrahim suffered shrapnel wounds to the head.
The AP said details of the shooting were unclear. AP President and CEO Tom Curley said the news organization would investigate “so we can understand the circumstances under which it occurred.”
A journalist at the scene, whose name was withheld, told the AP that the Ibrahims had arrived at the scene together after the 2:30 p.m. blast and that U.S. forces were in the area. The journalist told AP that gunfire broke out and both men were struck, although the report did not indicate who fired on them. Saleh Ibrahim was taken to a local hospital, where he died shortly after arrival. Mohamed Ibrahim, treated for shrapnel wounds, was detained at the hospital by U.S. troops and released the following day.
“We mourn the loss of our colleague Saleh Ibrahim and we call on U.S. military officials to help determine how he was killed,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.
The AP, citing Mosul’s deputy police chief, said a U.S. patrol was the target of the earlier explosion.
Insurgent actions are the leading cause of journalist deaths in Iraq, with 23 cases attributed to their actions. But at least nine journalists have been killed by fire from U.S. forces, the second highest cause of death. The remainder died at the hands of Iraqi armed forces during the combat phase of the war, or in crossfire from unclear sources.
Iraqis account for more than half of the journalists killed in the conflict thus far, CPJ research shows. Twenty-three Iraqi journalists have been killed since hostilities began. In addition to the 41 journalists killed, 19 media workers have died on duty. All but one of the media workers were Iraqi.
In an earlier incident in Mosul on Saturday, Iraqi police detained without charge a cameraman working for Reuters news agency.
Reuters said about 20 police officers raided cameraman Nabil Hussein’s home and assaulted him, his driver, and another journalist before taking all three away. The driver and the second journalist were released later Saturday, but Hussein was still being held for unknown reasons, relatives and colleagues told the news agency. Hussein’s father was arrested when he went to inquire about his son’s arrest. He was still being held today for reasons that were not made clear.
Iraqi police have threatened, harassed, or detained without charge working journalists on numerous occasions in the last year.
“We’re alarmed by Nabil Hussein’s detention,” Cooper said. “Iraqi authorities should immediately make public the reason for his arrest and ongoing imprisonment, or release him immediately.”