Al-Bayati, a freelance producer and translator who worked for the television station TG3, was murdered by three gunmen at his home in al-Adhamiya neighborhood. The men knocked on al-Bayati’s door and opened fire when he answered, killing him in front of his wife and baby daughter, said TG3 journalist Giovanna Botteri, who worked closely with al-Bayati.
Al-Bayati was not politically active and had no known personal disputes with any Iraqi factions, according to his colleagues. Botteri and other Italian media believe al-Bayati was targeted because of his work for TG3. The Web site Articolo 21 said that “al-Bayati fell victim to revenge attacks by Sunni terrorist groups who do not let Iraqis work with foreigners, especially with Western news media, above all Italian media.”
Italian journalists in Iraq have been at risk. On February 4, journalist Giuliana Sgrena of the Rome-based daily Il Manifesto was kidnapped and held captive for a month. In August 2004, Italian freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni was kidnapped and murdered by a militant group in Najaf.
Al-Bayati, who was born in Diyala, northwest of Baghdad, spoke fluent Italian and spent five years in Italy earning a college degree. He also did some work for the television stations Rai, Mediaset and TG3, and for the magazine Panorama.