Jassim al-Batat

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Al-Batat, a correspondent at Al-Nakhil TV and Radio, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen while walking in the town of Al-Qurna, north of Basra.

Four masked men shot al-Batat six times as he was walking in Al-Qurna market, station head Adnan al-Yasiri told CPJ. Al-Yasiri said he believes that al-Batat was targeted because of his work for the station, which he said supported the government.

Al-Nakhil TV and Radio, which began broadcasting three months after the invasion in 2003, is affiliated with Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.

According to the station's office manager, Ali Hussein Juda, the station received an e-mail threat during May clashes in Basra between government forces and the Mehdi Army. He said the e-mailer demanded the station stop advocating for the government or it would face attack.

A friend of al-Batat told CPJ that the journalist had expressed concern for his safety because of his job at a "political TV station."

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