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Two Iraqi journalists were killed in separate incidents last week, continuing Iraq's abysmal record as the deadliest country for the world's media, say the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Wisam Ali Ouda, a cameraman for the television station Afaq, was shot dead on his way home in Al-Obeidi, a district in northeastern Baghdad, on 21 May. According to the IFEX members, witnesses said Ouda was shot by an "American sniper." Clashes between U.S. soldiers and Shiite militiamen had plagued the Baghdad district over the past week. Afaq TV is affiliated to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's Shiite party Al-Dawa.

IFJ says at least 20 journalists and media staff have been killed by US forces since the invasion in 2003. 'This latest death is only one in a lengthening list of cases for concern," says IFJ. "The friends, family and colleagues of victims have a right to know the truth about the circumstances in which these killings have happened."

Just days before Ouda's murder, IFJ, which represents two journalists' unions in Iraq, called for a new investigation into the targeting of media staff by U.S. forces. The call follows revelations on the website Democracy Now! by a U.S. army veteran that Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, a media centre for non-embedded reporters that was attacked by U.S. forces in 2003, was on a U.S. army list of targets.

IFEX members are calling on the U.S. authorities to immediately investigate the attack and to make their findings public.

On the same day, the body of another journalist was found in a field in Diyala province along with other dead bodies. Haidar Hashim al-Husseini, a reporter for the independent daily "Al-Sharq", was abducted outside of his home on 20 May. His body was bound and had a single bullet wound to the head.

According to CPJ, at least 127 journalists and 50 media support staffers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, making it the deadliest conflict for the press. About 90 percent of media deaths have been Iraqis.

Visit these links:
- CPJ:
- IFJ:
- RSF:
- Democracy Now!
(27 May 2008)

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