Gunmen abducted al-Zubaidi, an editor for the independent weekly Al-Ahali, in early morning in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Al-Saleekh, a source at the paper told CPJ. Although there are conflicting dates for al-Zubaidi's death, the source said he was killed on January 28. People identifying themselves as the abductors contacted al-Zubaidi's family and demanded $20,000 but could not provide proof that the journalist was alive, the source said. Iraqi police notified the family the following day that al-Zubaidi's body had been found.
Two sources at the paper told CPJ that they believed al-Zubaidi was targeted for his work. One of them said that the journalist was active in his profession, carrying a press card and frequently visiting government ministries and civil society organizations. The other source said no other motive for his killing was evident.
Al-Zubaidi, who was born in 1953, specialized in investigative reporting, a source at the paper said. He also covered civil society organizations and higher education, and worked as head of information at Baghdad University's College of Dentistry.