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TWO REPORTERS DIE IN SEPARATE SHOOTINGS

The murders of a reporter employed by the "Washington Post" and a freelance journalist bring to 205 the number of media workers killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, says Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).

Salih Saif Aldin, who had worked for the "Washington Post" since 2004, was shot on 14 October 2007 in the south Baghdad neighbourhood of Saydiya, where he had gone to report on Shiite-Sunni violence. The newspaper said it had transferred him to Baghdad in 2005 from his home town of Tikrit after his report that local officials had looted a former palace spurred threats against him, including an alleged bounty on his head.

Freelancer Dhi Abdul-Razak al-Dibo was killed in an ambush the next day by unidentified gunmen near Kirku, 180 km north of Baghdad. His two bodyguards were injured.

"Eighty-eight per cent of the media workers killed in Iraq in the past four years have been Iraqi," RSF said. "Those working for foreign news media are in even greater danger," with Saif Aldin, who wrote under the pseudonym Salih Dehema, being the tenth in this category killed in 2007.

"Accounts that Salih Saif Aldin may have been murdered by Iraqi soldiers are alarming," said the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It cited reports that either Iraqi soldiers supporting the Shiite Mahdi Army, or gunmen from a Sunni group working alongside U.S. forces, were responsible.

Visit these links:
- RSF report: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=23996
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2007/mideast/iraq15oct07na.html
(16 October 2007)

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