Gunmen abducted and killed Khalil, 22, an editor for the Iraqi daily Azzaman, in Baghdad’s southern Shurta Raba neighborhood, according to the paper and CPJ sources.
Around midday, Khalil left his in-laws’ home with his wife, their newborn baby, and her father when gunmen in two vehicles stopped the journalist’s car, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. The gunmen ordered the passengers out, seized the car, and kidnapped Khalil. Iraqi police discovered his body three hours after the abduction in the same neighborhood, according to Azzaman and CPJ sources.
Khalil was shot multiple times in the head and back, and he appeared to have been beaten, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory said. CPJ was unable to determine if he was killed because of his journalism.
Khalil’s last news item focused on a call by some parliamentarians for the government-sanctioned assassination of militants, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory reported. Azzaman is operated by the Azzaman Group, which is owned by Iraqi media tycoon Saad al-Bazzaz, head of radio and television under Saddam Hussein until 1992. The paper was critical of the Iraqi government.