29 August 2005
Reuters soundman killed by US sniper fire
(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced outrage over the fatal shooting of Reuters TV soundman Waleed Khaled by US military sniper fire in Baghdad on 28 August 2005. The cameraman working with him, Haider Kadhem, sustained slight injuries and was detained by US soldiers.
"This incident in which Khaled was deliberately gunned down by five shots is extremely disturbing," the organisation said. "Our outrage is compounded by the fact that they arrested Kadhem, the only eyewitness, who was himself injured in the incident."
"The US high command must conduct an exhaustive enquiry and must take substantive measures to ensure that such a tragedy never recurs. We stress that this has become the deadliest war there has ever been for journalists," RSF added.
The Reuters TV crew had gone to cover an incident in which two Iraqi policemen were killed in the Hay al-Adil district of Baghdad. As they arrived, Khaled was hit by a shot in the face and four other shots in the chest, while Khadem was slightly hurt.
"I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping centre," Kadhem told other journalists who arrived seconds later. He was subsequently arrested by US soldiers. Reuters said he had still not been released six hours later. Other Iraqi journalists who arrived at the scene were also briefly detained, but were then released.
A US army statement said, "Task Force Baghdad units responded to a terrorist attack on an Iraqi police convoy [. . .] One civilian was killed and another was wounded by small-arms fire during the attack."
Khaled is the 66th journalist or media assistant to be killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. A total of 63 journalists were killed in the Vietnam war, which lasted from 1955 to 1975. Two other journalists are also missing in Iraq. ITV News cameraman Frédéric Nérac has been missing since 22 March 2003 and Suedostmedia cameraman Isam Hadi Muhsin Al-Shumary since 15 August 2004.