Al-Kaabi, editor-in-chief of the Baghdad-based weekly Al-Zawraa, was killed in Jaramana, a suburb of Damascus, the capital, according to news reports. Al-Zawraa is a weekly issued by the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate, the reports said.
News accounts reported few and conflicting details about al-Kaabi's death. Some outlets reported that he had been shot to death, while other reports citing Iraqi army officials said he had also been stabbed. It is unclear what the journalist was doing at the time of his death.
Al-Kaabi fled Iraq between 2007 and 2008 and had been living in Syria ever since, Ziad al-Ajili, director of Baghdad's Journalistic Freedom Observatory, told CPJ. Syria is home to some 1 million Iraqi refugees who fled the sectarian fighting in Iraq between 2005 and 2007, according to news reports. Al-Kaabi was a card-carrying member of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate, The Associated Press reported, citing Brig. General Qassim al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi commander.
Syrian authorities handed over al-Kaabi's body to Iraqi authorities at the Al-Waleed border on July 16, the AP reported al-Dulaimi as saying.
Al-Kaabi was killed on the same day as freelance Iraqi journalist Falah Taha, who was also living and working in Syria, according to news reports. It is unclear if the two died in the same area or under the same circumstances. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.