New York, September 21, 2005—An Iraqi editor working in the northern city of Mosul was gunned down outside his home on Tuesday, the third journalist killed in the country in four days and the second affiliated with the daily newspaper As-Saffir. The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed at the killings, which continue a deadly trend in which local Iraqi reporters are being targeted for their work.
Firas Maadidi, 40, Mosul bureau chief for As-Saffir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar, was killed by unidentified gunmen in the al-Noor neighborhood on Tuesday, Slayhe Jowiree, As-Saffir deputy editor, told CPJ. Maadidi was shot six times, including twice to the head. He was taken to hospital, where he was placed on life support for four hours before dying, Jowiree said.
As-Saffir, based in Baghdad, has a strong pro-democracy editorial position and is running a campaign to educate Iraqis on the importance of the new constitution and the upcoming general elections, local journalists said. It also criticizes insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, calling them terrorist operations, they said.
“We are an independent newspaper serving the Iraqi people, and we have no political or factional affiliations,” Jowiree told CPJ.
On Monday, CPJ reported the murder of Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for As-Saffir. Police in Mosul’s southern suburb of al-Muthana found her body on Saturday with a single bullet wound to the head.
Fakher Haider, an Iraqi journalist who reported for The New York Times, was abducted Sunday night from his home in Basra. His body was found on Monday in Basra’s southwestern al-Kiblah neighborhood with at least one gunshot to the head, according to his family.
The killings bring the death toll for journalists to 56 since the Iraq conflict began in March 2003. Two-thirds of those killed have been Iraqi journalists. Six journalists have been killed in Mosul alone in 2005.