|Reuters photographer and driver killed in Iraq
Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:20pm EDT
LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - An Iraqi photographer and driver working for
Reuters in Iraq were killed in Baghdad on Thursday in what witnesses said
was a U.S. helicopter attack but which the military described as a firefight
Iraqi police blamed American military action for the deaths.
Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, were killed
in eastern Baghdad, the international news and information company said.
The U.S. military said the pair died after a clash between its troops and
insurgents. The incident was under investigation, it said in a statement.
U.S. and Iraqi forces engaged "a hostile force" after coming under fire and
attack aircraft were called in.
Nine insurgents and two civilians were killed, the military said. The "two
civilians were reported as employees for the Reuters news service," it added.
A preliminary police report obtained by Reuters said Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh
had been killed by a "random American bombardment" that had killed nine other
The report was issued by the al-Rashad police station, the closest station
to the scene. Reuters obtained a photocopy of the report. It was based upon
witness accounts of the incident and signed by a lieutenant-colonel, the
head of the station.
The deaths take to six the number of Reuters employees killed in Iraq since
U.S.-led forces invaded the country in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
"Once again we are left mourning colleagues who have met an untimely death
while doing their job in Iraq," said Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer.
"Our sympathies and thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues
today," added Glocer.
"Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh's outstanding contribution to reporting on the unfolding
events in Iraq has been vital. They stand alongside other colleagues in Reuters
who have died doing a job that they believe in."
Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger said the deaths were a tragic reminder
of the risks journalists face in covering the war in Iraq.
"The job our reporters do is a critical one - telling the world what is happening
on the streets of Iraq on a daily basis," said Schlesinger.
"Reuters will continue to do all it can to protect journalists who must work
in dangerous and difficult conditions but still have a right to do their
Noor-Eldeen was single. Chmagh was married with four children.