Monday, September 13, 2004

US kill journalist making live broadcast

US missile attack kills 13 civilians in Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
13 September 2004
The Independent

"I am a journalist. I'm dying, I'm dying," screamed Mazen al-Tumeizi, a correspondent for the Arabic television channel al-Arabiya, after shrapnel from a rocket fired by an American helicopter interrupted his live broadcast and slammed into his back.

Twelve others were killed and 61 wounded by rockets from two US helicopters on Haifa Street in central Baghdad. They had fired into a crowd milling around a burning Bradley fighting vehicle that had been hit by a rocket or bomb hours before.

It comes on one of Iraq's bloodiest days for weeks in which at least 110 people died in clashes around the country. The Health Ministry said the worst casualties were in Baghdad and in Tal Afar near the Syrian border, where 51 people died.

"The helicopter fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit earlier and it was on fire," said Major Phil Smith of the 1st Cavalry Division. "It was for the safety of the people around it." Mr Tumeizi, a Palestinian, was the sixth Arab journalist to be killed by American troops since Baghdad was captured last year. The videotape of his last moments shows how Mr Tumeizi was killed during a live television broadcast, with the Bradley blazing in the distance and a crowd of young men celebrating its destruction, but it shows no reason why the helicopters should open fire.

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