Paul Moran

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Moran, a freelance cameraman on assignment for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was killed in a suicide bombing when a man detonated a car at a checkpoint in northeastern Iraq. Another Australian journalist, ABC correspondent Eric Campbell, was injured in the incident.

Michael Ware, Time magazine’s northern Iraq correspondent and a witness to the incident, told his editor, Howard Chua-Eoan, that several foreign journalists were standing outside a checkpoint on the edge of Gerdigo, a town in northern Iraq near Halabja, interviewing people who were leaving the town in the wake of a U.S. cruise missile bombardment that began on March 21 and continued until the next day.

U.S. missiles were targeting strongholds of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group that the United States designates as a terrorist organization. The area where the journalists were conducting interviews was reportedly under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a rival of Ansar al-Islam that had just taken over the area.

At around 3 p.m., a taxi drove to the checkpoint near PUK soldiers and Moran, and the driver then detonated his vehicle. Most of the other journalists had just left the scene. Moran, who was filming at the time, was standing only a few feet from the checkpoint and was killed immediately. Campbell was injured by shrapnel.

Chua-Eoan said it appeared that the bomber was targeting the PUK soldiers, not the journalists. According to The Associated Press, at least four other people were killed in the bombing. Militants from Ansar al-Islam are believed to be responsible for the attack.

Chua-Eoan told CPJ that foreign journalists in northern Iraq had recently received warnings from U.S. State Department and Kurdish intelligence officials that Ansar al-Islam may target members of the media, as well as the hotel where most journalists are staying, the Sulaymaniyeh Palace.