Unidentified gunmen intercepted al-Mansouri, 34, a correspondent for the Iranian state-run Arabic language satellite channel Al-Alam, as he was driving in the Al-Amariyeh neighborhood of western Baghdad, colleague Abdullah Hamdullah Bardan Ruba’i told CPJ. Al-Mansouri was driving to the station’s offices when he was attacked, Ruba’i said.
The gunmen took al-Mansouri’s mobile phone, satellite phone, press card, and money, Ruba’i said. He said his colleague was rushed to a hospital but died shortly afterward. Ruba’i and CPJ sources said they believe al-Mansouri was killed because he was a journalist.
Al-Mansouri, a Shiite, received death threats a year earlier when he resided with his family in Baghdad, where sectarian violence had intensified, according to Ruba’i. The Associated Press reported that the journalist moved his wife and daughter to the Shiite-dominated city of Karbala following the threats, but chose to stay in Baghdad himself. He had dropped off his visiting wife at her parent’s house in Al-Amariyeh around 7 p.m. the night of the attack, sources said.
Ruba’i said he, too, received death threats because he works for Iran’s Al-Alam channel. Al-Mansouri was the first journalist from the Arabic-language Iranian satellite channel to be murdered.
The station, which started regular broadcasting in March 2003, was based in Tehran and run by IRIB, the Iranian state radio and TV service. It was opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and, in hourly news bulletins, showed extensive footage of Iraqi civilians lying dead in residential areas or being treated in hospitals.