Two journalists and their driver killed

New York, May 17, 2005—
The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating the circumstances surrounding the murder of two Iraqi journalists on Sunday on a road in Latifiyah, a town about 25 miles south of Baghdad.

Agence France-Press identified the journalists as Ahmed Adam and Najem Abed Khudair, who worked for the private Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada. Editors at Al-Mada could not be reached today to provide more details about the journalists.

Press reports said that the journalists were headed toward Karbala, when armed men ambushed their car and slit their throats, leaving their bodies on the side of the road. Initial press reports said that the journalists were traveling with a driver, who was also killed.

AFP reported yesterday that nine men have been detained as suspects, but no motive was reported. At least four journalists have been murdered in the area south of Baghdad; all were ambushed by armed men as they traveled on area roads.

At least 41 journalists have died on duty in Iraq since hostilities began in March 2003; most were killed in crossfire, but at least 13 were murdered. Since January 2004, the majority of journalists killed have been Iraqi citizens.