Two Iraqi journalists killed, four more injured

New York, March 10, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the deaths today of Al-Baghdadia TV correspondent Haidar Hashim Suhail and the channel’s cameraman Suhaib Adnan, who were among more than 30 people who were killed when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt detonated himself in the town of Abu Ghraib, south of Baghdad. 

Additionally, Ibrahim al-Katib, correspondent with the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV, was seriously injured in the head, suffered internal bleeding, and underwent surgery at al-Yarmuk hospital in Baghdad, where he remains in critical condition, his colleagues told CPJ.

“We express our condolences to the families and colleagues of Haidar Hashim Suhail and Suhaib Adnan,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.“This is a reminder of the dangers that Iraqi journalists face on a daily basis as they do their work. Our thoughts are with Ibrahim al-Katib, who remains in a critical condition.”  

Cameraman Raid Qassim, assistant cameraman Uday Munzir, and driver Fawzi Aidan, all working with Al-Iraqiya also suffered minor injuries in the attack. All of them were discharged from the hospital today, Qassim told CPJ.

The correspondents and cameramen were accompanying Brigadier General Mard Abdul Hassan, head of the Tribal Affairs division at the Ministry of Interior, to a tribal reconciliation gathering in the town of Abu Ghraib in Anbar province. They were interviewing residents when the suicide bomber, wearing a military uniform, detonated himself, Qassim told CPJ.

Suhail, 30, and Adnan, 25, both working with the Cairo-based Al-Baghdadia satellite channel, died at the scene, Qassim told CPJ.

At least 136 other journalists have been killed in Iraq in relation to their work since the U.S. invasion of March 2003. Anbar province, once the stronghold of al-Qaeda affiliated militant groups, is considered among the most dangerous spots for the press; CPJ research shows that at least eight other journalists have died there since 2003.