Journalist killed, three injured in separate attacks in Iraq

New York, June 1, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death ofan Al-Baghdadia television correspondent killed by a bomb attached to his car in Mosul, in northern Iraq, on Sunday.

Alaa Abdel-Wahab, a sports journalist with the Cairo-based station, was killed in the bombing, which also wounded Sultan Jerjis, a sports presenter with local radio station Al-Rasheed, local watchdog group the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory reported. Jerjis is said to be in stable condition, with injuries to his legs. It was unclear why the journalists were targeted.

In a similar but unrelated attack the same day, two staffers from the state-run Al-Iraqiya television station were badly wounded when a bomb attached to their car exploded in the Al-A’zamiya district in Baghdad, according to local and international news reports. One of the wounded staffers was identified as sound engineer Hameed Yousif, while the second staffer’s identity has not been revealed, according to local news reports. The observatory said Yousif is in critical condition.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Alaa Abdel-Wahab and wish our injured colleagues a quick recovery,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “These attacks are reminders that Iraqi journalists are in great danger as they report the news for their country and the world. We call on the Iraqi authorities to immediately investigate these bombings and bring those responsible to justice.”

Abdel-Wahab and Jerjis, who were on assignment to cover a story on the local Olympic committee, had just finished eating lunch and were getting into Abdel-Wahab’s car when the bomb exploded, The Associated Press reported. Abdel-Wahab, 37, was severely wounded and was rushed to the city’s main hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Abdel-Wahab’s death is the third killing of a journalist in Iraq this year, CPJ research shows.

Mosul, 230 miles (370 kilometers) north of Baghdad, is the second-deadliest city for journalists in Iraq; at least 23 other journalists have been killed there since March 2003, CPJ research shows. Baghdad tops the list of deadliest cities, with at least 75 journalists killed in the same period. At least 139 journalists, including Abdel-Wahab, have been killed in Iraq in relation to their work since the U.S. invasion in 2003.