Dozens of heavily armed gunmen stormed the independent Radio Dijla station in Baghdad’s Al-Jamia district, killing guard al-Badri and injuring two other guards, Karim Yousef, acting director-general, told CPJ.
Around 2:30 p.m., dozens of masked gunmen attacked Radio Dijla with missiles and heavy machine guns, destroying equipment, and knocking the station off the air, Yousef said. The gunmen seized the first floor of the two-story building, causing Radio Dijla’s 25 employees to flee to the second floor and fight off the attack, he said.
The assailants set off an explosive on the first floor, destroying the station’s broadcast equipment, Yousef said. The gunmen fled shortly before Iraqi security forces arrived. Yousef told CPJ he called the security forces 10 minutes into the attack; his staff, he said, fought the gunmen for more than 30 minutes before they were rescued. The damage, Yousef said, was so extensive that the station could not immediately return to the air.
Radio Dijla is considered an independent news outlet. “We don’t belong to … any political or sectarian sides and we accept all Iraqi voices,” Yousef said. “We asked the government several times to protect the road, to protect the station, but unfortunately to no avail.”