Abdul-Hussein Khazal

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Khazal, 40, and his son were gunned down outside their home around 8 a.m., Al-Hurra said in a statement. Khazal, who joined the U.S.-funded television station in April 2004, also worked as a correspondent for the U.S.-funded radio station Radio Sawa, the station said.

Al-Hurra News Director Mouafac Harb told CPJ that the station was investigating the incident and was not aware of any threats against Khazal stemming from his work.

Agence France-Press reported that a previously unknown group calling itself The Imam al-Hassan al-Basri Brigades claimed responsibility for the shooting in a statement posted
on an Islamic Web site. Agence France-Presse said the posting accused Khazal of being a member of the Badr Brigades, a Shiite militia affiliated with Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The Associated Press reported that Khazal was a member of the rival Shiite political party Dawa, worked as an editor for a local newspaper, and served as a press officer for the Basra city council.

In an interview with CPJ, Harb disputed reports of Khazal's Shiite political affiliations and said the reporter "was killed because he was a journalist."


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