Reporters Without Borders is appalled by today’s suicide bombing in the town of Abu Ghraib, 30 km west of Baghdad, in which two journalists working for privately-owned satellite TV station Al Baghdadiyah - cameraman Haidar Hashem Souheïl, 27, and reporter Souhaib Adnan, 30 - were among the 30 or so people killed.
Haïdar Hachem Souheïl
The bomb was set off during a visit by an interior ministry official that was being covered by many journalists.
“We deplore this bombing and offer our condolences to the families of the victims,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Souhil and Adnan are the first journalists to be killed in Iraq since the start of 2009. The security situation had until now seemed to be improving in Iraq, but this suicide bombing suggests that the dangers continue for both the population as a whole and journalists, who have to risk their lives in order to do their job.”
The press freedom organisation added: “A total of 223 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of the US-led military intervention in March 2003.”
Today’s bombing, which has not so far been claimed, occurred as some 30 journalists were covering a visit by Marid Abdel Hassan, a senior interior ministry representative who had come to talk with local tribal chiefs. The explosion was followed by an exchange of shots between soldiers and insurgents firing from nearby houses. Hassan himself was not injured.
Several journalists were also badly injured by the blast. One of them, reporter Ibrahim Al-Kateb of the national TV station Al-Irakiya, was in serious condition after undergoing brain surgery. Al-Irakiya cameraman Raid Kassem and his assistants Ada Manzar and Faouzi Idan were also injured.
Photographic credits : Journalistic Freedoms Observatory