Vincent, who had written for a number of U.S. publications and was working on a book, was abducted along with his interpreter, Noor al-Khal, on August 2. They were taken by armed men driving what initial reports described variously as a government pickup truck or police car.
Vincent’s body was riddled with bullets, his hands were tied with plastic wire, and his neck was wrapped in red cloth, The New York Times reported. Al-Khal was seriously wounded and was hospitalized.
In an opinion article published in The Times on July 31, Vincent said police in Basra had fallen under the sway of Shiite religious groups, and he strongly criticized British authorities in charge of police training for tolerating such influence.
Vincent’s work also appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and the National Review. A resident of New York City, he had been in Basra for several months working on a book about the Iraqi port city. Vincent was the first U.S. journalist to be murdered in Iraq.
The reason for Vincent’s murder remains unclear. Some speculated he was killed in retaliation for his sensitive reporting on Shiite religious groups in Basra. Others said his close relationship with al-Khal may have run against religious sensibilities and led to his murder.