Iraqi journalist killed by bomb in Anbar province

New York, January 21, 2014–An Iraqi journalist was killed by a roadside bomb in Anbar province on Monday, according to news reports. Firas Mohammed Attiyah, a correspondent, had been reporting on ongoing clashes in the province for the local Fallujah TV station, the reports said.

“The situation for journalists in Iraq has deteriorated very sharply in recent months,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We call on authorities to do everything they can to ensure journalist safety and bring those responsible for attacks to justice.”

In 2013, CPJ ranked Iraq the second deadliest country in the world for journalists, behind only Syria. The Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has posed a particular threat in both Iraq and Syria, kidnapping and murdering journalists on both sides of the border. It has become increasingly difficult and dangerous to report from both countries, and many journalists have fled, fearing for their lives.

The bomb exploded as Attiyah accompanied a government patrol to a ceremony in the city of Khalidiya, according to the local Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. Muayad Ibrahim, a journalist for Anbar TV, was also wounded in the incident, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate said. News reports conflicted on the number of police casualties.

Fallujah TV, which was founded in part to counter Al-Qaeda’s influence in the city, posted on Facebook a picture of the journalist’s body draped in an Iraqi flag.

In late December, Sunni militants–some linked to ISIS–launched an offensive against security forces in Anbar province, taking at least partial control of both major cities in the province, Ramadi and Fallujah. At least one other journalist has been killed in the past month while covering the fighting between ISIS militants and the Iraqi government in the province. Omar Ali Saleh al-Firaji, a journalist with the local Voice of Anbar Radio, was shot dead by a sniper on December 31, according to the syndicate and news reports.

  • For more data and analysis on Iraq, visit CPJ’s Iraq page here.