Remembering those killed in 2007

Journalists were killed in unusually high numbers in 2007, making it the deadliest year for the press in more than a decade, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ end-of-year analysis. MENASSAT.COM pays tribute to the Arab journalists killed this year - most of them in Iraq and Somalia - by telling their stories.
killed journalists 2007

NEW YORK, Jan. 2, 2008 (CPJ/MENASSAT.COM) - Sixty-five journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2007, the highest death toll in more than a decade, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a year-end report.

For the fifth straight year, Iraq was the deadliest country in the world for the press. Its 32 victims account for nearly half of the 2007 toll. Somalia was the second-deadliest country, with seven journalist deaths.

Most of the victims were targeted and murdered, such as Washington Post reporter Salih Saif Aldin, who died in Baghdad from a single gunshot wound to the head. In all, 24 deaths in Iraq were murders and seven occurred in combat-related crossfire.

Unidentified gunmen, suicide bombers, and U.S. military activity all posed fatal risks for Iraqi journalists. All but one of 31 journalists killed were Iraqi nationals. They worked mainly for local media, although nine worked for international news organizations such as The New York Times, ABC News, Reuters, and The Associated Press. The 2007 toll in Iraq is consistent with that of 2006, when 32 journalists died.

"Working as a journalist in Iraq remains one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Members of the press are being hunted down and murdered with alarming regularity. They are abducted at gunpoint and found dead later or shot dead on the spot. Those who die are nearly always Iraqi and many work for international news agencies. These journalists gave their lives so that all of us could be informed about what is happening in Iraq."

Twelve media support workers, such as bodyguards and drivers, also died in Iraq. Since the beginning of the war in March 2003, 124 journalists and 49 media workers have been killed, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in recent history. More than one-third worked for international news organizations.

Somalia was the second-deadliest country for the media in 2007, with seven journalist deaths. "Horrific violence in Iraq overshadowed the increasingly deteriorating environment for the media in Somalia," said Simon. "Journalists reporting in Somalia face great risks every day."

Included in the seven deaths in Somalia are the back-to-back assassinations of two prominent journalists. Mahad Ahmed Elmi, director of Capital Voice radio in Mogadishu, died after being shot four times in the head. Hours later, a remotely detonated landmine took the life of HornAfrik Media co-owner Ali Iman Sharmarke as he left Elmi’s funeral. CPJ, founded in 1981, compiles and analyzes journalist deaths each year. The 2007 toll is second only to that of 1994, when 66 journalists were killed amid conflicts in Algeria, Bosnia, and Rwanda. CPJ is investigating another 23 journalist deaths in 2007 to determine whether they were work-related.

Consistent with previous years, about seven in ten journalist deaths in 2007 were murders. Combat-related deaths and deaths in dangerous assignments accounted for the rest of the cases.

For a complete list of journalists killed in the line of duty worldwide in 2007, click here.

See CPJ's list of pending investigations into suspicious deaths: Killed: Motive Unconfirmed.

See CPJ's list of Journalists Who Disappeared.

See CPJ's list of Media Workers Killed.

Below, in keeping with its mission as an Arab media website, MENASSAT.COM, is publishing the stories behind the 40 journalists who were killed in the Arab world this year, as provided to us by CPJ. With the exception of Dmitry Chebotayev, a Russian freelancer killed in Iraq, they were all Arab journalists.

Photo credits from left (beginning with Ajmal Naqshbandi): Teru Kuwayama, Reuters, Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, UZNews, Toronto Star, The Washington Post, Kommersant, Shabelle Media, Kidane family, Journal Peru, NUSOJ.

IRAQ: 32

1) Ahmed Hadi Naji, Associated Press Television News, January 5, 2007, Baghdad

Naji, 28, a cameraman for Associated Press Television News, was found in a Baghdad morgue with a gunshot wound to the back of the head, six days after he had gone missing.

The journalist left his home in southwest Baghdad’s Ashurta al-Khamsa district for work on the morning of December 30, AP reported. His wife, Sahba’a Mudhar Khalil, reported him missing that evening, the news agency said. The circumstances surrounding his death were unclear, according to AP. A coroner’s report could not pinpoint a date of death, a CPJ source said.

The source said Naji had received telephone threats a year previous, prompting him to move his family to a safer location. Naji also worked as a messenger for the news agency.

Naji was the second AP employee killed in less than four weeks. On December 12, 2006, Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, 35, was gunned down by insurgents while filming clashes between Iraqi police and insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.

2) Falah Khalaf al-Diyali, Al-Sa’a, January 15, 2007, Ramadi

Several gunmen in a car followed al-Diyali, a photographer for the Baghdad-based newspaper Al-Sa’a, and then shot him in Ramadi’s central neighborhood of Malaab, a journalist familiar with the case told CPJ. Al-Diyali died at the scene, the journalist said.

Just before he was killed, al-Diyali photographed damage to the central mosque in Ramadi caused by a U.S. bombardment the previous day, the source said. Witnesses said al-Diyali was being watched while he was taking photographs. The gunmen caught up with al-Diyali after he drove away from the mosque, the source told CPJ.

Al-Sa’a was established immediately after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in 2003. It is a political and social weekly owned by prominent Sunni cleric Ahmad Kubeisi. Al-Diyala also contributed photographs on a freelance basis to the state-run daily Al-Sabah, the source said.

3) Hussein al-Zubaidi, Al-Ahali, January 28, 2007, Baghdad

Gunmen abducted al-Zubaidi, an editor for the independent weekly Al-Ahali, in early morning in Baghdad’s eastern neighborhood of Al-Saleekh, a source at the paper told CPJ. Although there are conflicting dates for al-Zubaidi’s death, the source said he was killed on January 28. People identifying themselves as the abductors contacted al-Zubaidi’s family and demanded $20,000 but could not provide proof that the journalist was alive, the source said. Iraqi police notified the family the following day that al-Zubaidi’s body had been found.

Two sources at the paper told CPJ that they believed al-Zubaidi was targeted for his work. One of them said that the journalist was active in his profession, carrying a press card and frequently visiting government ministries and civil society organizations. The other source said no other motive for his killing was evident.

Al-Zubaidi, who was born in 1953, specialized in investigative reporting, a source at the paper said. He also covered civil society organizations and higher education, and worked as head of information at Baghdad University’s College of Dentistry.

4) Abdulrazak Hashim Ayal al-Khakani, Jumhuriyat al-Iraq, February 5, 2007, Baghdad

Iraqi police discovered the body of al-Khakani, 45, an editor and news presenter at Jumhuriyat al-Iraq radio, and that of his cousin, in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Al-Jihad. The bodies had several gunshot wounds, al-Khakani’s brother, Majid, told CPJ.

Gunmen abducted the two on February 4.

The family identified the journalist on February 19 in Baghdad’s Al-Tib al-Adli morgue. The abductors had taken his identification cards, the brother said.

The kidnappers spoke several times with the family using al-Khakani’s cell phone. Majid al-Khakani told CPJ that the kidnappers told him they killed al-Khakani because he was a journalist who was harming Iraq. They identified themselves as belonging to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Khakani had returned to Iraq in 2003 after spending 21 years as a prisoner of war in Iran following his capture in 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war. Al-Khakani presented a news show for the radio station that addressed government and politics, Majid al-Khakani told CPJ.

Radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq is part of the state-run Iraqi Media Network. Insurgents have frequently targeted state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. 

5) Jamal al-Zubaidi, As-Saffir and Al-Dustour, February 24, 2007, Baghdad

The body of al-Zubaidi, 56, an economics editor for the Baghdad-based dailies As-Saffir and Al-Dustour, was identified by his family in a Baghdad morgue. Al-Zubaidi’s son, Riyah, told CPJ that police found the editor’s body with gunshot wounds to the head in Baghdad’s southwestern neighborhood of Al-Aamal.

Al-Zubaidi’s identification cards and cell phone were taken by the gunmen. He was last seen leaving As-Saffir’s offices in the central Karada neighborhood around 1 p.m. on February 24.

Al-Zubaidi had worked for As-Saffir and Al-Dustour for three years. Two journalists for As-Saffir were killed by gunmen in September 2005 in Mosul. Another was kidnapped and held for ransom for nearly three weeks in March 2006.

6) Mohan Hussein al-Dhahir, Al-Mashreq, March 4, 2007, Baghdad

Several gunmen in two vehicles attempted to abduct al-Dhahir, 49, managing editor of the Baghdad daily Al-Mashreq, at 8:30 a.m. while he waited outside his home in Baghdad’s Al-Jamia neighborhood for the paper’s car to pick him up for work, according to sources at the paper. After a struggle, the sources said, the gunmen shot al-Dhahir six times in the back and once in the head.

Al-Mashreq is a privately owned, widely read Baghdad newspaper that publishes commentary critical of the government, according to local journalists. The paper had received numerous warnings to stop publishing, local journalists said. Al-Dhahir worked nearly four years for the paper.

7) Yussef Sabri, Biladi, March 7, 2007, Baghdad

Sabri, 26, a cameraman for the Biladi satellite channel, was among several journalists filming pilgrims traveling southwest from Baghdad to the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to sources at the station. Iraqi security forces had set up checkpoints to safeguard the way for the pilgrims. Sabri and other journalists were traveling in a convoy with Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta al-Mussawi, Iraqi spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, who was reviewing the checkpoints.

Sources at the station told CPJ that an explosives-laden car appeared from a side road in the Al-Saydiya neighborhood of Baghdad’s Al-Rasheed district and fired at the convoy. The car accelerated, hit the last vehicle in the convoy, and blew up. Sabri and the others in the vehicle were killed in the blast, the sources said. The U.S. military said 12 Iraqi soldiers were killed, according to The Associated Press.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq was suspected of carrying out the attack since it controlled the Al-Rasheed district, a hotbed of violence. Sabri had worked for six months at Biladi, an independent channel with a pro-government editorial line established by former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

8) Hamid al-Duleimi, Nahrain, March 17, 2007, Baghdad

Gunmen abducted al-Duleimi, a producer for the privately owned Nahrain satellite channel, as he left work in Baghdad’s Al-Aamel neighborhood, a source at Nahrain told CPJ. He had driven only about 650 feet (200 meters) from the station when he was seized.

Late that night, eyewitnesses saw his body being thrown on a pile of garbage in a neighborhood alley, according to the station source. Family and colleagues identified al-Duleimi two days later at a Baghdad hospital morgue. The source said al-Duleimi had several gunshot wounds to the head, and his body showed signs of torture, including multiple burns and broken hands, legs, and neck.

Al-Duleimi, born in 1977, was survived by his then-pregnant wife and three children, another source at the station said. Al-Aamel neighborhood was controlled by the Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a local journalist told CPJ.  

9) Thaer Ahmad Jaber, Baghdad TV, April 5, 2007, Baghdad

A suicide attacker driving a garbage truck packed with explosives set off a blast near the main entrance of Baghdad TV’s offices on April 5, killing Deputy Director Jaber and injuring 12 employees, according to CPJ sources and a statement by the Iraqi Islamic Party.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization, reported that the attackers fired at the station’s guards, clearing the way for the truck. The front of the building, which housed the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party-owned Baghdad TV and Radio Dar al-Salam, was destroyed along with several station and employee vehicles, according to news reports. The main transmission equipment was damaged, briefly interrupting broadcasts.

Jaber often helped CPJ document attacks against journalists in Iraq. CPJ learned of Jaber’s death after calling his cell phone and being informed by a family member that he had been killed.

10) Khamail Khalaf, Radio Free Iraq, April 5, 2007, Baghdad

Radio Free Iraq reporter Khalaf, who was kidnapped April 3 from Baghdad’s Yarmouk district, was found dead in Baghdad’s Al-Jamia neighborhood on April 5, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and CPJ sources. Police received an anonymous call informing them that there was a body on the street. They came under heavy fire by unidentified assailants when they went to retrieve the body, according to RFE/RL and CPJ sources.

RFE/RL reported that an unidentified caller used Khalaf’s cell phone to contact her family, but no demands for ransom were made. Khalaf had received prior threats, according to RFE/RL. It was not clear if the threats were directly work-related.

Khalaf had reported on social and cultural life in Iraq for Radio Free Iraq since 2004, according to a statement by RFE/RL. Radio Free Iraq is the Arabic language service of RFE/RL in Iraq, broadcasting from the network’s headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic.

11) Othman al-Mashhadani, Al-Watan, April 6, 2007, Baghdad

The body of al-Mashhadani, 29, was found by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad’s northwestern district of Al-Shoula three days after he was abducted.

Al-Mashhadani, a reporter for Saudi Arabia’s daily newspaper Al-Watan, was abducted on his way home from work between the northwestern Baghdad districts of Al-Shoula and Al-Ghazaliya, according to CPJ sources. Colleagues told CPJ that al-Mashhadani was on assignment covering the Baghdad security plan and its effects on the Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Mashhadani was shot in the head and chest; his body showed signs of torture and the fingers on his right hand were broken, according to CPJ sources and the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. His captors called his family hours after his abduction demanding a ransom, but there was no further communication, the organization reported.

The Mahdi Army had a stronghold in Al-Shoula while the predominantly Sunni district of Al-Ghazaliya was under the control of the Islamic Army, the largest Sunni insurgent group.

A colleague told CPJ that al-Mashhadani reported on the activities of the Islamic Army and other militias. Al-Mashhadani began work for Al-Watan in October 2006, according to an article published by the paper. He had also worked as a freelance reporter for the prominent pan-Arab weekly magazine Al-Watan al-Arabi since 2005.

12) Khaled Fayyad Obaid al-Hamdani, Nahrain, April 12, 2007, Abu Ghraib

Al-Hamdani, a producer for the privately owned Nahrain satellite channel, was killed in a shooting that involved U.S. military forces, according to a station source and a relative. Al-Hamdani was driving at high speed from his home in Abu Ghraib to work in Baghdad when troops opened fire, the relative told CPJ. The source said al-Hamdani had often driven at high speed to minimize danger; the military patrol was apparently alarmed by the rate of speed. The road, a main access to Baghdad, was so notoriously dangerous that it was called the Highway of Death.

The relative told CPJ that his account was based on conversations with U.S. military personnel and eyewitnesses. A U.S. military spokesman said the military had no record of the shooting.

Al-Hamadani, 36, prepared documentary and cultural programs for the channel. He was survived by a wife and children.

13) Dmitry Chebotayev, freelance, May 6, 2007, Diyala

Chebotayev was the first Russian journalist to be killed in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003. A freelance photographer embedded with U.S. forces, Chebotayev was killed along with six American soldiers when a roadside bomb struck a U.S. military vehicle in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

Chebotayev was on assignment for the Russian edition of Newsweek magazine, reporting on the efforts of U.S. forces to control roads in Diyala province, Leonid Parfyonov, the edition editor, told CPJ. Chebotayev, 29, had freelanced for several news agencies, including the German-based European Pressphoto Agency and the independent Moscow daily Kommersant. He had been in Iraq for more than two months.

14) Raad Mutashar, Al-Raad, May 9, 2007, outside Kirkuk

Gunmen riding in an Opel without a license plate intercepted a vehicle carrying Mutashar, 43, owner and director of a media company, on a road southwest of Kirkuk at around 2 p.m., a company source told CPJ. The source said the gunmen shot Mutashar, driver Imad Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaid, and passengers Nibras Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaid and Aqil Abdul-Qadir. The Associated Press first reported the attack.

Mutashar’s company, Al-Raad, published a weekly newspaper, Al-Iraq Ghadan, and a related institute operated a news agency and a media education center. A CPJ source said Mutashar was a prominent writer, poet, and journalist who started the company four years earlier.

The CPJ source said Mutashar’s son was kidnapped more than a year previous but was released after a ransom was paid. The kidnappers told Mutashar that his journalistic work had prompted the abduction, the source said.

Imad Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaid and Nibras Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaid were Mutashar’s brothers-in-law.

15) Alaa Uldeen Aziz, ABC News, May 17, 2007, Baghdad
16) Saif Laith Yousuf, ABC News, May 17, 2007, Baghdad

Gunmen in two cars ambushed and killed cameraman Aziz, 33, and soundman Yousuf, 26, on their way home from the network’s Baghdad bureau, ABC News reported. ABC said Aziz was survived by a wife and two daughters, while Yousuf was set to marry his fiancée.

17) Nazar Abdulwahid al-Radhi, Aswat al-Iraq and Radio Free Iraq, May 30, 2007, Al-Amarah

Al-Radhi, 38, a correspondent for the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq and Radio Free Iraq, was gunned down in the southern city of Al-Amarah in Maysan province. Three men wearing white uniforms and riding in a pickup truck killed al-Radhi outside the Al-Arusa Hotel in the city’s center, Saad Hassan, an eyewitness and reporter for the daily newspaper Al-Sabah, told Aswat al-Iraq.

Al-Radhi had finished covering a journalism workshop for Radio Free Iraq, according to a statement by its parent, the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Hassan told Aswat al-Iraq that al-Radhi was talking to a workshop leader when the gunmen began firing. RFE/RL said al-Radhi was shot four times and died at the scene; several other journalists were injured. Eyewitnesses said nearby Iraqi police did not intervene during the attack, Aswat al-Iraq reported.

RFE/RL reported that al-Radhi had received prior threats because of his work for a “foreign agency.” Radio Free Iraq is the Arabic-language service of RFE/RL in Iraq, broadcasting from the network’s headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic.

18) Mohammad Hilal Karji, Baghdad TV, June 6, 2007, Baghdad

Karji, a correspondent for the Jordan-based satellite channel Baghdad TV, and his cousin were traveling to Baghdad for work when they were stopped at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the town of Yusufiya, about 12 miles south of Baghdad, according to a source at the station who requested anonymity. The two were handed over to armed men who claimed to be security officers and who were in a car stationed by the checkpoint, the source said.

Karji and his cousin tried to escape, but only the cousin was able to flee, the source said.

The gunmen were suspected members of the Mahdi Army, a militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, according to the source at the station. The source said that Karji was shot in the head and that the body showed signs of torture.

Karji was believed to be killed because of his affiliation with Baghdad TV, where he worked for two years, the source told CPJ. The channel, owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a large Sunni political group, had lost at least seven other employees since June 2005. The channel had been attacked by a truck laden with explosives in one incident and shelled by insurgents in another. The attacks forced the channel to relocate its main headquarters to Jordan.

19) Sahar Hussein Ali al-Haideri, National Iraqi News Agency and Aswat al-Iraq, June 7, 2007, Mosul

Al-Haideri, 44, was shopping in Mosul’s Al-Hadbaa neighborhood when four unidentified gunmen got out of their vehicle, gunned her down, and fled the scene, taking her cell phone with them, local journalists told CPJ.

Earlier, she had been reporting news of a suicide attack on a police station in the nearby town of Al-Rabiya, according to the National Iraqi News Agency. When a police captain called to give her more information, the killers answered her phone, telling him, “She went to hell,” according to a local journalist who spoke with the captain.

Al-Haideri had previously told CPJ that she had received many death threats. In early 2006, she was twice targeted for abduction; one attempt failed, and she was rescued the other time. In March 2006, al-Haideri told CPJ she had been shot, requiring surgery. In August 2006, gunmen killed her daughter’s fiancé.

In her final e-mail to CPJ, on March 22, al-Haideri said her name was on a death list composed of journalists and police officers. It had been circulated throughout Mosul and posted on her house door. According to the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq, the list was issued by the “Emir of the Islamic State in Mosul,” the local leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State in Iraq.

Al-Haideri was a correspondent for the National Iraqi News Agency and Aswat al-Iraq, and a contributor to a number of other Iraqi media outlets. She also was a journalist trainee and correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting, an organization that trains local journalists in war coverage. She visited CPJ’s offices in New York in late 2005, and CPJ helped relocate her husband and four children to Damascus, Syria, after she received death threats.

Click here to read MENASSAT.COM's earlier coverage of Sahar Al-Haideri.

20) Aref Ali Filaih, Aswat al-Iraq, June 11, 2007, Al-Khalis

Filaih, correspondent for the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq, was killed by a roadside bomb while driving to an assignment south of Al-Khalis in Diyala province, Aswat al-Iraq reported. Filaih, 32, had worked as Aswat al-Iraq’s correspondent in the violence-plagued province since December 2006, the news agency said.

21) Filaih Wuday Mijthab, Al-Sabah, June 17, 2007, Baghdad

Mijthab’s body was found in Baghdad’s main morgue four days after he was abducted by armed men. Mijthab, who worked with the government-run daily Al-Sabah, suffered bullet wounds to the head, the independent news agency Voices of Iraq reported. There was no claim of responsibility.  

Insurgent and other armed groups have frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. The New York Times reported that Mijthab could have been targeted by Shiite groups because of his past work for state-run media under the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Mijthab, like many of the newspaper’s employees, had received numerous telephone threats while working at Al-Sabah, the paper reported.

Gunmen in three vehicles intercepted Mijthab, 53, as he was traveling to work in Baghdad’s eastern Shiite neighborhood of Al-Habibiya. Mijthab, who was with his eldest son and a driver, was ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. Mijthab was taken to an unknown location; his son and the driver were not seized.

22) Hamid Abed Sarhan, freelance, June 26, 2007, Baghdad

A car carrying several gunmen intercepted Sarhan, a freelance journalist and a public relations director at Baghdad’s municipal secretariat, while he was driving home from work in Baghdad’s Al-Saydiya neighborhood, a local journalist familiar with the case told CPJ. The gunmen shot the journalist and sped away.

Iraqi police were about 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the shooting and responded quickly to the scene, the source said. Police called Abed Sarhan’s sons, who identified the body.

Several CPJ sources familiar with the case said that Sarhan’s work was the only plausible motive for his killing. Sarhan was a well-known journalist who worked as a managing editor at the Iraqi News Agency until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to CPJ sources. Since then, he worked as managing editor for the independent daily Al-Mashriq and the now-defunct weekly Al-Wihda al-Wataniya. He was the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct weekly Iraqiyoun. In 2005, Sarhan became the managing editor of Baghdad’s municipal secretariat weekly Sawt Baghdad. He later became a public relations director for the secretariat.

Sarhan freelanced for several national and international Arabic-language newspapers, including the Iraqi dailies Azzaman and Al-Mashriq, according to the CPJ source. He also appeared as an analyst on several programs for Iraqi satellite channels such as Al-Baghdadia and Al-Sharqiya. He regularly wrote articles and reports for Sawt Baghdad as part of his job for the secretariat, the source said.

Al-Saydiya, located in the Al-Rasheed district controlled by al-Qaeda in Iraq, was a hotbed of violence at the time.

23) Sarmad Hamdi Shaker, Baghdad TV, June 27, 2007, Baghdad

Shaker, 43, a correspondent for the satellite channel Baghdad TV, left his home in Baghdad’s Al-Jamia neighborhood for work on the morning of June 27. He was waiting on the street for a friend to pick him up, a source at the station told CPJ, when a car carrying several gunmen came alongside and two armed occupants asked him to get in for questioning, the source said. His body was found on the street in the same neighborhood that afternoon, according to the source.

Shaker’s wife and three children fled the neighborhood and moved north of Baghdad.

The source said the gunmen were suspected members of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and that Shaker was killed because he worked for Baghdad TV, a moderate Sunni channel that has been repeatedly targeted by both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups, according to staff.

Shaker worked at Baghdad TV for two years, the source told CPJ. The channel, owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a large Sunni political group, had lost at least seven other employees since June 2005.

24) Namir Noor-Eldeen, Reuters, July 12, 2007, Baghdad

Photographer Noor-Eldeen, 22, was killed in eastern Baghdad during what witnesses described as a U.S. helicopter attack. The strike claimed the lives of 10 other Iraqis in the Al-Amin al-Thaniyah neighborhood, Reuters reported, citing a preliminary Iraqi police report. The victims included Noor-Eldeen’s driver and camera assistant, Saeed Chmagh.

Witnesses told Reuters that Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh arrived in the neighborhood about the time a U.S. helicopter fired on a minivan. Video footage showed that the minivan was destroyed, Reuters reported. Initial reports suggested that the air strike took place during clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents, but witnesses later said there were no clashes, according to Reuters.

The Multi-National Force-Iraq press desk in Baghdad did not respond to CPJ’s telephone and e-mail inquiries seeking comment. Four other Reuters employees had been killed on assignment in Iraq, among the largest losses suffered by an international news organization in the conflict, CPJ research shows.

25) Khalid W. Hassan, The New York Times, July 13, 2007, Baghdad

Khalid W. Hassan, 23, a reporter and interpreter, was shot while driving to work in the south central Seiydia district, the newspaper reported. He had called the bureau to say that he was taking an alternative route because his usual way was blocked by a security checkpoint, the newspaper said. The Times reported that the journalist called his mother a half hour later to say, “I’ve been shot.” The family notified the newspaper that Hassan later died.

An Iraqi of Palestinian descent, Hassan had worked for the Times' Baghdad bureau since fall 2003, the newspaper said. He was survived by his mother and four sisters. He was the second New York Times employee killed on assignment in Iraq, CPJ research shows. Times reporter Fakher Haider, 38, was killed in Basra in September 2005.

“Khalid was part of a large, sometimes unsung, community of Iraqi news-gatherers, translators, and support staff, who take enormous risks every day to help us comprehend their country’s struggle and torment,” Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, said in a statement.

26) Mustafa Gaimayani, Kirkuk al-Yawm and Hawal, July 16, 2007, Kirkuk

27) Majeed Mohammed, Kirkuk al-Yawm and Hawal, July 16, 2007, Kirkuk

A triple bomb attack in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed at least 85 people, including editor Gaimayani and reporter Mohammed, and wounded more than 180 others.

A suicide attacker driving a truck packed with explosives detonated the vehicle near one of the offices of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, in central Kirkuk, according to international news reports.

The blast damaged several adjacent buildings, including the offices of the Kirkuk Cultural and Social Association, killing Gaimayani, an editor for Kirkuk al-Yawm, and Mohammed, a sports reporter for the paper, Hashwan Dawoudi, deputy head of the association, told CPJ.

The association, which is funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government, publishes the weekly newspaper Kirkuk al-Yawm and the quarterly Kirkuk magazine, Dawoudi said.

At the time of the blast Mohammed and Gaimayani were preparing the weekly for publication, Dawoudi said. Seven other editors, including the editors-in-chief of both Kirkuk al-Yawm and Kirkuk were wounded in the explosion, he added.

Mohammed was also a correspondent and Gaimayani a writer for the Kurdish-language weekly Hawal, Dawoudi told CPJ. Seven years ago, Dawoudi established Hawal Media Foundation, which published four newspapers, including Hawal and the Arabic-language weekly Al-Naba.

Gaimayani, who was also known as Mustafa Darwish, was in his mid-40s. He was a dual national with Swedish citizenship who moved with his family to Sweden in 1981 and returned to northern Iraq about four months earlier to work for Hawal Media Foundation, Dawoudi told CPJ. Mohammed was in his mid-30s.

28) Adnan al-Safi, Al-Anwar, July 27, 2007, Baghdad

An unidentified gunman shot al-Safi, a correspondent for the Kuwait-based Al-Anwar satellite channel, outside the channel’s offices in Baghdad’s north-central neighborhood of Al-Etifiyah, according to Bassem al-Safi, a member of the reporter’s extended family and a fellow journalist.

Adnan Al-Safi had just finished work and was waiting for a public van to take him home when the shooting occurred at 3 p.m. on July 25, the relative said. Al-Safi, shot in the head, was taken to a Baghdad hospital where he died 48 hours later.

Bassem al-Safi told CPJ that the journalist appeared to be targeted; bystanders were uninjured. He told the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization, that an armed group had been seen in the station’s neighborhood. Al-Anwar satellite channel is a moderate Shiite channel focusing on Islamic culture and issues.

Adnan al-Safi founded and headed the Islamic Press Union in 2005, which held workshops and lectures on television, radio, and print journalism, said the relative, a fellow member of the union. The victim, who was in his late 30s, also worked for radio station Sawt al-Iraq and served as an adviser in the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. He was survived by a wife and three children.

29) Amer Malallah al-Rashidi, Al-Mosuliya, September 3, 2007, Mosul

Al-Rashidi, 42, a camera operator for the private satellite channel Al-Mosuliya, left his relative’s house in Mosul’s eastern Al-Jazair neighborhood in the evening to catch a taxi when gunmen in a car opened fire, a source at the station told CPJ. The source said that after al-Rashidi fell to the ground, one of the gunmen got out of the car and shot him at close range.

The source, who asked not to be identified, believed that al-Rashidi was targeted because he was a journalist. Al-Rashidi was a well-known camera operator in Mosul, a place where armed groups have frequently targeted journalists. Al-Rashidi did not report receiving death threats prior to the shooting, the source told CPJ.

Before joining Al-Mosuliya, al-Rashidi worked for the state-run Al-Iraqiya channel, according to the source at the station. Al-Mosuliya satellite channel was established about a year earlier to cover news in Nineveh province. 

30) Muhannad Ghanem Ahmad al-Obaidi, Dar al-Salam,
September 20, 2007, Mosul

Gunmen believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq killed al-Obaidi, 25, a presenter and producer for the Iraqi Islamic Party-owned radio Dar Al-Salam, according to a source at the station. Al-Obaidi was heading home when a car intercepted him and a gunman emerged, the source said.

Police Brig. Abdul Karim al-Jubouri told the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq that “the gunmen opened fire on the journalist, near Thiyab al-Iraqi Mosque in al-Moharibeen area.” The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a local press freedom organization, reported that al-Obaidi resisted the gunmen when they attempted to abduct him, which led to his killing.

Al-Obaidi worked on social programs for radio Dar al-Salam, al-Jubouri said, adding that he was also a preacher at Mosul’s Bazwayah Mosque, Aswat al-Iraq reported. 

The source told CPJ that Dar al-Salam had received prior threats. Dar al-Salam and Baghdad TV, both owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a large Sunni political group, have been regularly targeted by insurgents. In April, a suicide attacker driving a garbage truck packed with explosives blew up the front of the building that houses Baghdad TV and Dar al-Salam in Baghdad.

31) Salih Saif Aldin, The Washington Post, October 14, 2007, Baghdad

Saif Aldin, 32, was killed at close range by a single gunshot to the head while photographing fire-damaged houses on a street in Baghdad’s southern neighborhood of Saydiya, the Post reported. Saif Aldin was on assignment interviewing residents about sectarian violence raging between Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in the neighborhood, long a center of violence, the newspaper said. The Post reported that a man used Saif Aldin’s cell phone to inform an employee at the paper that the journalist was killed.

Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Sudarsan Raghavan told CPJ that it was murky as to who shot Saif Aldin and why. Some residents suspected that the Iraqi Army, some of whose members were loyal to the Mahdi Army, a militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was responsible for the slaying, the Post reported. Iraqi police said they suspected Sunni gunmen from the Awakening Council, a group consisting of Sunni tribes working alongside U.S. forces, the Post said. 

Saif Aldin, who wrote under the pseudonym Salih Dehema for security purposes, began his journalism career as a reporter for the weekly Al-Iraq al-Yawm in Tikrit, and joined the Post in January 2004 as a stringer, the newspaper said. Saif Aldin had been arrested, beaten, and threatened while carrying out his assignments.  

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of the Post, called Saif Aldin a “brave and valuable reporter who contributed much to our coverage of Iraq.” Saif Aldin was known for his tenacity and his willingness to take assignments that put him in harm's way, the Post reported.

  VIDEO: The Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran discusses his colleague’s murder in Baghdad.

32) Shehab Mohammad al-Hiti, Baghdad al-Youm
, October 28, 2007, Baghdad

Al-Hiti, 27, an editor for the fledgling weekly Baghdad al-Youm, was last seen leaving his home in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Al-Jamia to go to the paper’s offices around midday, a source at the paper told CPJ. Iraqi security forces found the journalist’s body later that afternoon in Baghdad’s northeastern Ur neighborhood and transported it to Baghdad’s Al-Tib al-Adli Hospital morgue, the source said.

A local journalist told CPJ that Ur neighborhood is adjacent to Baghdad’s Sadr City, controlled by the Mahdi Army, led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The CPJ source said that he was not aware of any prior death threats against the journalist. Baghdad al-Youm had been publishing for only three weeks.


33) Mohammed Abdullahi Khalif, Voice of Peace, May 5, 2007, Galkayo

Khalif, a contributor to the private radio station Voice of Peace in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, was killed by crossfire while covering an army raid on an illegal gun market.

Khalif died from a bullet to the chest as soldiers were raiding the dealership to recover an assault rifle allegedly stolen from the army, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists and local journalists. One other person died and several others were wounded in the raid.

Khalif, believed to be about 25, had contributed news reports to the station on a voluntary basis since 2006, Director Mohamed Ali Ahmad told CPJ. He had worked as a station technician for several months before that, Ahmad said.

34) Abshir Ali Gabre, Radio Jowhar, May 16, 2007, Jowhar
35) Ahmed Hassan Mahad, Radio Jowhar
, May 16, 2007, Jowhar

News editor Gabre and reporter Mahad of Radio Jowhar, a private station in Jowhar, 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of the capital, Mogadishu, were gunned down when a provincial governor’s motorcade was ambushed by gunmen from a rival sub-clan.

Gabre and Mahad were riding in the first vehicle of the official convoy, a white pickup truck carrying officials and armed security guards, according to Station Director Saeed Ali Afrah. Gabre sustained gunshot wounds to his neck and left hand, while Mahad was shot in the head and chest, he said. The official was unharmed, but at least six people were killed and several injured in the ensuing gun battle, according to the independent station Radio Shabelle.

Gabre, 35 and the father of one, was also the head of the Middle Shabelle branch of the National Union of Somali Journalists and a stringer for the private Somali Broadcasting Corp., according to Afrah.

Mahad, 24, had been reporting for Radio Jowhar since its inception in October 2002. He was survived by a wife and three children.

36) Mahad Ahmed Elmi, Capital Voice, August 11, 2007, Mogadishu
37) Ali Sharmarke, HornAfrik, August 11, 2007, Mogadishu

Prominent journalists Sharmarke and Elmi were killed in Mogadishu in two separate attacks on the same day. Unknown gunmen shot Elmi, director of Capital Voice radio, a private station run by HornAfrik Media, four times in the head at close range as he neared the door of his office early that morning, according to news reports and local journalists. He bled to death after being rushed to the hospital.

Elmi, 30, hosted a popular daily morning talk show in which Mogadishu residents phoned in reports about neighborhood issues such as crime and government security operations.

Sharmarke, founder and co-owner of HornAfrik Media, was killed just hours later after attending Elmi’s funeral. The black Land Cruiser in which he was riding was struck by a remotely detonated landmine, according to the local news reports. None of the more than 20 other vehicles in the funeral procession was hit.

Sharmarke, 50, who had dual Canadian and Somali citizenship, was survived by two wives and two children, HornAfrik co-manager Mohamed Mohamud Elmi told CPJ. Elmi was survived by a wife and two children, according to news reports.

38) Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey, Radio Banadir, August 24, 2007, Bardera

Kaskey, a correspondent for private Radio Banadir, was shot in the southwestern city of Bardera while returning from a journalism training workshop in Mogadishu, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists and local journalist Mohamed Gaarane.

Kaskey died of a single bullet to the chest when local clan gunmen opened fired on a Toyota truck carrying 15 people, Gaarane said. At least two passengers were wounded in the incident, which occurred just after midnight.

Gaarane reported that officials of the local Geledle sub-clan, to which the gunmen allegedly belonged, announced they would hand over the perpetrators to provincial authorities. 

Kaskey, 20, was an active reporter respected by his colleagues, according to Radio Banadir producer Ali Moalim. A day before his death, he had visited the offices of the press union in Mogadishu to discuss the working conditions of journalists in southwestern Somalia. He was also a correspondent of Radio Maandeeq in Gedo and Radio Daljir in the northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to local media reports.

39) Bashiir Noor Gedi, Radio Shabelle, October 19, 2007, Mogadishu

Gedi, acting manager of the independent station Radio Shabelle, was assassinated outside his home in Mogadishu by unknown gunmen, according to station employees and local journalists. Gedi was attempting to return to his home in the Hamar Jadid neighborhood after he and other Radio Shabelle employees had been holed up in the station for roughly a week because of a series of threats, according to journalists who spoke with his family.

Radio Shabelle, considered one of the leading stations in Somalia, had been harassed, threatened, and attacked by both government security forces and insurgents because of its critical reporting of the ongoing violence in Mogadishu. The station was forced to close for 15 days before resuming broadcasts on October 3.

Radio Shabelle halted its normal programming after the slaying, which occurred around 7 p.m., and started airing verses from the Quran, the National Union of Somali Journalists reported.

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40) Suleiman Abdul-Rahim al-Ashi, Palestine, May 13, 2007, Gaza City

Gunmen wearing Presidential Guard uniforms stopped a taxi carrying al-Ashi, 25, an economics editor for the Hamas-affiliated daily Palestine, and Mohammad Matar Abdo, 25, a manager responsible for distribution and civic relations, Editor-in-Chief Mustafa al-Sawaf told CPJ. The taxi was stopped at 2:30 p.m. in a high-security area southwest of Gaza City that was controlled by Fatah, al-Sawaf and other journalists told CPJ.

Al-Sawaf said the two men were beaten before being shot on a public street. Al-Ashi died at the scene, while Abdo was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he died at 3 a.m. on May 14, al-Sawaf and CPJ sources said. The description was based on interviews with eyewitnesses and an account that Abdo provided his brother before he died, al-Sawaf said.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the Palestinian Journalists Block both denounced the killings. Mohamed Edwan, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said Fatah had nothing to do with the killings and that presidential guards were instructed to shoot only in self-defense. He said Fatah condemned the killings and urged that the perpetrators be punished.

Al-Ashi and Abdo were scheduled to meet with economic and tourism organizations in Gaza that afternoon, al-Sawaf told CPJ. The fledgling Palestine newspaper was launched in May. The murders came amid clashes in the coastal strip between the Fatah and Hamas factions.