For the fourth consecutive year, Iraq was the most dangerous reporting assignment in the world, exacting a frightening toll on local and foreign journalists. Thirty-two journalists and 15 media support staffers were killed during the year, bringing to 129 the number of media personnel killed in action since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Those numbers easily made Iraq the deadliest conflict for the press in CPJ's 25-year history. For the first time, murder overtook crossfire as the leading cause of journalist deaths in Iraq, with insurgent groups ruthlessly targeting journalists for political, sectarian, and Western affiliations.

Setting Iraq apart from earlier conflicts was the scale and ubiquity of the danger. For journalists as well as ordinary Iraqis, just stepping out the front door was risky. Suicide bombers, car bombs, murders, and abduction were among the dangers facing reporters, hindering their ability to travel and gather the news. "I don't drive a car to work because I don't want to be identified going in and out of the compound where The Washington Post bureau is based. I hail taxis instead, examining each driver's face in hopes that I can somehow discern whether he is a threat.... Paranoia has become my shield," Post reporter Bassam Sebti wrote in a first-person account in CPJ's magazine, Dangerous Assignments, published in May.

Highly visible foreign journalists were obvious targets and increasingly unable to report on the street. The cost of security and insurance to maintain a foreign correspondent in Baghdad was so high that only major outlets could afford to do so. Iraqis took over the primary newsgathering role, and, whether working for a Western media company or one of the new Iraqi outlets that flourished after the fall of Saddam Hussein, they bore the brunt of the appalling violence. All but two of the journalists and media workers killed in 2006 were Iraqis; since 2003, more than 80 percent of all media fatalities were locals. Of the seven journalists kidnapped in 2006, six were Iraqis. At least three were still missing in late year.

The plight of Iraqi journalists became apparent in February, when gunmen murdered one of Arab television's best-known war correspondents. Atwar Bahjat, a reporter for Dubai-based Al-Arabiya who had gained renown reporting on post-conflict Iraq for Al-Jazeera in 2003, was gunned down along with her cameraman and engineer near Samarra. The crew had been on the outskirts of the city covering the bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine. The gunmen drove up and demanded to know the whereabouts of "the presenter." CPJ honored Bahjat posthumously with its International Press Freedom Award in November.

The killings of Iraqi journalists peaked in October with an attack on the Baghdad offices of the fledgling satellite TV channel Al-Shaabiya. Masked gunmen stormed the station, which had not even begun broadcasting, and killed 11 employees. It was the deadliest assault on the press in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Al-Shaabiya was owned by the secular National Justice and Progress Party, which had failed to win any seats in the preceding election.

Western journalists who ventured out on assignment were also targets. Gunmen seized freelance U.S. reporter Jill Carroll, who was on assignment for The Christian Science Monitor, on January 7 as she left the office of a prominent Sunni politician in the Adil neighborhood of western Baghdad. The kidnappers murdered her interpreter, Alan Enwiyah. Carroll's abduction triggered sympathy and a storm of international protest from journalists, politicians, and religious figures from around the world. She was freed unharmed on March 30.

Similarly, the January bombing that gravely wounded embedded ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, along with the May attack that killed CBS News cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan and wounded reporter Kimberly Dozier, brought home to the American public the risks journalists faced in telling the Iraq story.

While violence by insurgents posed the greatest threat to reporters, Iraqi journalists said that the U.S. military continued to endanger them and inhibit their work. At least 14 journalists have died from U.S. forces' fire since the war began, and CPJ is investigating a 2006 death that also may have stemmed from U.S. actions. The U.S. military has failed to fully investigate or properly account for the killings of journalists by its forces in Iraq, CPJ research shows. Nor has it implemented its own recommendations to improve media safety, particularly at U.S. checkpoints. In October, a British inquest into the March 2003 death of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd concluded that Lloyd was unlawfully killed by U.S. troops in southern Iraq three years ago. The Pentagon said an investigation in May 2003 found that U.S. forces had acted in accordance with their rules of engagement. The findings of the U.S. inquiry, however, were not made public.

In October, CPJ filed an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act after the Pentagon refused to release information about the 2003 U.S. bombing of Al-Jazeera television's Baghdad bureau, which killed reporter Tareq Ayyoub. The appeal followed the revelation by Britain's Channel 4 that former British Home Secretary David Blunkett had suggested around the time of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that bombing Al-Jazeera's Baghdad transmitters might be justified.

Iraqi journalists also faced harassment and detention at the hands of U.S. troops. PBS Frontline producer and former New York Times reporter and photographer Warzer Jaff told CPJ that U.S. troops detained him in early November as he attempted to film the aftermath of a car bombing in Baghdad's Al-Bataween neighborhood. Soldiers verbally abused him for an hour, cursing his work as a journalist, and confiscated his tape, which was later returned, he said. A U.S. soldier later recorded an obscene gesture on Jaff's cell phone camera before handing it back to him.

More troubling was the open-ended detention of reporters in the field by U.S. troops. Since March 2003, dozens of journalists – mostly Iraqis – have been held. While most were quickly released, CPJ has documented at least eight cases in which Iraqi journalists were detained for weeks or months before being freed without charges ever being substantiated. One of those was Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, a freelance cameraman working for CBS, who was detained after being wounded by U.S. forces' fire as he filmed clashes in Mosul in northern Iraq on April 5, 2005. U.S. military officials said footage in his camera led them to suspect Hussein had prior knowledge of attacks on coalition forces, but it took them nearly a year to bring any charges. In April 2006, a year after his arrest, Hussein was freed after an Iraqi criminal court, citing a lack of evidence, acquitted him of collaborating with insurgents.

As Hussein's ordeal ended, that of another Iraqi journalist began. Associated Press freelance photographer Bilal Hussein was taken by U.S. forces on April 12 in Ramadi and held for "imperative reasons of security." Yet he was not tried or charged with a crime, and the military disclosed no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. U.S. officials put forward vague accusations against Hussein, such as his alleged close ties to Iraqi insurgents. According to the AP, one of the most specific allegations cited by U.S. officials – that Hussein was involved in the kidnapping of two Arab journalists in Ramadi by Iraqi insurgents – was discredited after the AP investigated the claim. The two abducted journalists had not implicated Hussein in the kidnapping; they had instead singled him out for praise for his assistance when they were released. The military's only evidence supporting its claim appeared to be images of the released journalists that were found in Hussein's camera, the AP said.

Only a month before Hussein's arrest, U.S. Maj. Gen. John Gardner announced a new process to ensure high-level, 36-hour reviews of all journalist detentions. U.S. troops across Iraq, he said, were ordered to report the arrest of anyone claiming to be a journalist to Gardner personally; he said news organizations would be given the chance to vouch for their journalists. "Once a journalist is detained," Gardner told Reuters, "it comes to me." The change, he added, was designed to ensure that "we don't hold someone for six or eight months." But the new policy applied only to journalists whom the military did not label "security threats," and it set no apparent standards of due process. Hussein's detention showed that Iraqi journalists remained vulnerable to long-term detentions without charge.

The Iraqi government was no better in its treatment of journalists. Although media have enjoyed unprecedented freedom since Saddam's ouster, Iraqi officials harassed, censored, and dragged journalists to court in reprisal for their work.

Iraqi journalists continued to complain about the behavior of Iraqi security forces that threatened or detained reporters or confiscated their equipment. In September, Iraqi authorities detained Tikrit-based Al-Hayat correspondent Kalshan al-Bayati and held her without charge for 26 days. Officials said they suspected her of having ties to insurgents. The journalist had gone to security forces headquarters in Tikrit to retrieve a personal computer confiscated during a raid on her home weeks earlier, when she was also detained. Al-Bayati was working on an article for the Saudi-owned newspaper about insurgents in Saleheddin province, and her prior reporting had been critical of security forces in Tikrit.

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continued a disturbing trend of his predecessors by closing down broadcast outlets on vague charges that they were engaged in "incitement." On September 7, the government closed the Baghdad bureau of Al-Arabiya for one month. Al-Arabiya Executive Editor Nabil Khatib said the government accused the station of fomenting "sectarian violence and war in Iraq" but did not provide evidence. It was the second time Al-Arabiya had been closed by the government in three years. In November 2003, the Iraqi Governing Council, the provisional government appointed by the United States, banned the station from broadcasting in Iraq. Authorities accused it of incitement after it aired an audiotape in which Saddam purportedly urged Iraqis to resist the U.S.-led occupation.

The government continued to enforce the closure of the Baghdad bureau of Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera. It was closed in July 2004 after former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi accused the station of incitement to violence and hatred. Iraqi officials alleged that Al-Jazeera's reporting on kidnappings had encouraged Iraqi militants; a government statement also accused the station of being a mouthpiece for terrorist groups. Al-Jazeera operated openly in the Kurdish-ruled area in northern Iraq and still managed to cover news from other parts of the country through local sources and a network of contacts.

A number of Iraqi journalists faced prosecution for their work under restrictive laws. Editor-in-Chief Ayad Mahmoud al-Tamimi and Managing Editor Ahmed Mutair Abbas of Sada Wasit, a now-defunct daily in the southern city of Kut, faced more than 10 years in prison and heavy fines on defamation charges filed under a law revived from Saddam's penal code. The case, which drew international attention, languished in the courts throughout the year. Before a court hearing in September, Abbas was mysteriously abducted by unknown gunmen and held for several days.

A surge in criminal prosecutions and draconian penalties against journalists working in Kurdistan signaled an alarming deterioration in press freedom in that region. In January, Kurdish-Austrian writer Kamal Karim was sentenced to 30 years in prison for articles he wrote on Kurdistanpost, an independent Kurdish news Web site, criticizing the Kurdistan Democratic Party and its leader, Massoud Barzani, whom he accused of corruption and abuse of power. Karim was eventually pardoned and released.

Elsewhere in the north, Hawez Hawezi, a high school teacher who wrote for the weekly Hawlati, was summoned by security forces in Sulaymaniyah and arrested. This followed an article criticizing his treatment by security forces when he was held March 17-19 in connection with a separate report critical of the region's two main political parties. Hawezi had accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of governing the region badly, referring to them as pharaohs.

Also in May, a criminal court in Sulaymaniyah sentenced Twana Osman, editor-in-chief of Hawlati, and Asos Hardi, the paper's former editor, to six-month suspended jail terms and fines of 75,000 dinars each (US$50) for having published an article alleging that Prime Minister Omer Fatah of the Kurdish regional government ordered the dismissal of two telephone company employees after they cut his phone line for failing to pay a bill.

Killed in 2006 in Iraq

Mahmoud Za'al, Baghdad TV, January 25, 2006, Ramadi

Za'al, 35, a correspondent for Baghdad TV, was shot during clashes between U.S. forces and Sunni rebels in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 70 miles (110 kilometers) west of Baghdad.

Reuters quoted witnesses as saying Za'al was covering an insurgent attack on two U.S.-held buildings when he was wounded in the legs and then killed moments later in a U.S. air strike. The U.S. military denied it had launched an air strike in Ramadi that day and declined comment on the clashes or Za'al's death, the agency reported.

Staff at Baghdad TV told CPJ that U.S. soldiers briefly questioned Za'al 15 minutes before he was shot.

Staff said several of the station's correspondents had been detained by U.S. troops in the preceding few months. Baghdad TV is owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, the biggest Sunni political group. Za'al had worked for the station for one year.

In another case involving combat reporting in Ramadi, Dhia Najim, a freelance cameraman working for Reuters, was shot in the head by a U.S. sniper on November 1, 2004, according to his colleagues.

Atwar Bahjat, Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra
Adnan Khairallah, Wasan Productions and Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra
Khaled Mahmoud al-Falahi, Wasan Productions and Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra

The bodies of correspondent Bahjat, cameraman al-Falahi, and engineer Khairallah were found near Samarra, a day after the station lost contact with the crew, editors at Al-Arabiya told CPJ. Bahjat, 30, was a well-known on-air figure. Al-Arabiya said she had recently joined the channel after working as a correspondent for the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera.

Al-Falahi, 39, and Khairallah, 36, were employees of Wasan Productions who were on assignment for Al-Arabiya. The crew was on the outskirts of the city covering the bombing of the Shiite shrine Askariya, also known as the Golden Mosque.

Al-Arabiya Executive Editor Nabil Khatib said the station lost phone contact with the crew on the evening of February 22. A fixer for Wasan Productions told the station later that armed men driving a white car had attacked the crew after demanding to know the whereabouts of the on-air correspondent.

Munsuf Abdallah al-Khaldi, Baghdad TV, March 7, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen in west Baghdad shot al-Khaldi, 35, a presenter for the Iraqi television station Baghdad TV. Al-Khaldi was driving to the northern city of Mosul to interview poets when assailants stopped the car and fired three shots, Baghdad TV Deputy Director Thaer Ahmad said. One passenger was killed and two others were injured. Al-Khaldi presented an educational and cultural show focusing on Middle Eastern poetry.

On March 1, Baghdad TV came under artillery fire by insurgents, according to Ahmad. Four employees were injured by two shells, which hit a parking area. The station had received e-mail threats because of its criticism of insurgent attacks, Ahmad added.

Baghdad TV is owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, the biggest Sunni political group. Two of its correspondents had been killed by U.S. forces' fire in the preceding year.

Amjad Hameed, Al-Iraqiya, March 11, 2006, Baghdad

Hameed and his driver Anwar Turki were shot and killed by gunmen apparently affiliated with al-Qaeda in an ambush in central Baghdad. Hameed had been head of programming for Iraq's state television channel Al-Iraqiya since July 2005.

Hameed, 45, the father of three children, had just left home for work when he was shot several times in the head and chest. Al-Iraqiya, which receives funding from the U.S. government, suspended regular programming and aired verses from the Quran after the widely condemned attack.

Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack in Internet postings, but those claims could not be independently verified. "Your brothers in the military wing of the Mujahedeen Council assassinated on Saturday Amjad Hameed, the editor of Iraqiya ... which always broadcasts lies about jihad to satisfy crusader masters," said a statement posted on a Web site often used by militant groups and attributed to the group, Reuters reported. According to the statement, the station was "the mouthpiece of the apostate government."

About two dozen employees of the state-run Iraq Media Network, which includes Al-Iraqiya, had been killed in the war, most by insurgents. Al-Iraqiya offices had repeatedly come under mortar attack.

Muhsin Khudhair, Alef Ba, March 13, 2006, Baghdad

Khudhair, editor of the news magazine Alef Ba, was killed by unidentified gunmen near his home in Baghdad, the third journalist killed in Iraq in a week, Reuters and Agence France-Presse reported.

The shooting took place just hours after Khudair attended a meeting of the Iraqi Journalists Union, which discussed the targeting of local journalists in Iraq, Reuters said. The killing continued two trends in Iraq: The vast majority of victims were Iraqi citizens; and most cases were targeted assassinations.

Kamal Manahi Anbar, freelance, March 26, 2006, Baghdad

Anbar, 28, a freelance journalist and former trainee with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), was killed by Iraqi forces' fire during a clash with insurgents. The shooting broke out near Al-Mustafa al-Husseiniyah mosque in Baghdad's Ur neighborhood, according to CPJ sources. Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. military, opened fire after several shots were fired from a building adjacent to the mosque. Civilians rushed for cover, among them Anbar, who was found shot several times in the face and neck, according to IWPR. According to CPJ sources, Anbar was among 16 people killed in the fighting.

Anbar had completed a two-week IWPR course on economics reporting and was writing an article on the displacement of Iraqi families and the volatile housing market. He was at the mosque to interview Sheikh Safaa al-Timimi, head of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's local political movement and an authority on displaced families seeking shelter in Ur, according to IWPR.

So'oud Muzahim al-Shoumari, Al-Baghdadia, April 4, 2006, Baghdad

Al-Shoumari, a correspondent for the Egypt-based satellite channel Al-Baghdadia, was found shot in Baghdad's southern district of Doura on April 4 by Iraqi police and taken to Yarmouk hospital morgue, his father told CPJ. Al-Shoumari, also know as al-Hadithi (the name of his family's hometown), was abducted on April 3.

Al-Shoumari was alone when he was seized, and his killers were not identified, sources told CPJ. Abdelhamid al-Sa'eh, director of news at the channel, said he suspected that al-Shoumari, a Sunni Muslim, was kidnapped by elements within the Shiite-dominated Iraqi police, but could not provide details.

Al-Shoumari had worked for Al-Baghdadia for approximately seven months. According to the Los Angeles Times, al-Shoumari regularly confronted Iraqi police about suspicions that they were committing extrajudicial killings. The channel's Baghdad director, Muhammad Fitian, and al-Shoumari's father both told CPJ they were not aware of confrontations with the police.

A colleague at Al-Baghdadia said al-Shoumari regularly interviewed authorities about human rights violations and the daily suffering of the Iraqi people. Al-Shoumai did on-camera reporting and anchored a news program.

Al-Baghdadia was critical of the Iraqi government and the U.S. military presence in Iraq, according to The Associated Press. Baghdad's southern district of Doura was a hotbed of violence, and dead bodies were frequently discovered in the neighborhood.

Laith al-Dulaimi, Al-Nahrain, May 8, 2006, south of Baghdad

Al-Dulaimi, a reporter for the privately owned TV station Al-Nahrain, and Muazaz Ahmed Barood, a telephone operator for the station, were kidnapped by men dressed as police officers at Diyala Bridge. The two were driving home to Madain, a town 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Abdulkarim al-Mehdawi, the station's general manager, told CPJ.

Their bodies were discovered in Al-Wihda district, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Baghdad. Both men, in their late 20s, were shot in the chest, al-Mehdawi told CPJ. Al-Dulaimi had become a reporter for Al-Nahrain four months earlier.

James Brolan, CBS, May 29, 2006, Baghdad
Paul Douglas, CBS, May 29, 2006, Baghdad

Cameraman Douglas and soundman Brolan were killed when a car bomb exploded while they were on patrol in Baghdad with Iraqi and American soldiers. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, the third member of the CBS crew, was seriously injured in the attack.

The CBS journalists, embedded with the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, were reporting from outside their Humvee and were believed to have been wearing protective gear when a car packed with explosives detonated, CBS said in a statement. An Iraqi contractor and an American soldier also were killed, and six soldiers were injured, according to news reports.

Douglas, 48, based in London, had worked for CBS News in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda, and Bosnia since the early 1990s, CBS said. Brolan, 42, also based in London, was a freelancer who worked with CBS News in Baghdad and Afghanistan over the preceding year, according to the network.

Ali Jaafar, Al-Iraqiya, May 31, 2006, Baghdad

Jaafar, 24, a well-known sports correspondent and anchor at Iraq's state television channel Al-Iraqiya, was shot by unidentified gunmen as he opened up his recently deceased brother's auto shop near his home in Al-Shorta al-Rabaa in southwest Baghdad, according to CPJ sources and international news reports. His colleagues believe he was killed because he worked for Al-Iraqiya.

Insurgents frequently targeted Al-Iraqiya and its staff because of the station's ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. About two dozen employees of the state-run Iraq Media Network, which includes Al-Iraqiya, had been killed in the war, most by insurgents. Al-Iraqiya offices had repeatedly come under mortar attack.

Ibrahim Seneid, Al-Bashara, June 13, 2006, Fallujah

Seneid, an editor for the local newspaper Al-Bashara, was murdered in an evening drive-by shooting, Fallujah police Lt. Mohammed Ali told The Associated Press. Insurgents accused the paper of publishing U.S. propaganda, and they demanded its closure in leaflets distributed in Fallujah, AP reported.

Al-Bashara was established following the battle for Fallujah in November 2004, according to a CPJ source. It was perceived by many local residents as a mouthpiece for the United States, the source said.

Adel Naji al-Mansouri, Al-Alam, July 29, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen intercepted al-Mansouri, 34, a correspondent for the Iranian state-run Arabic language satellite channel Al-Alam, as he was driving in the Al-Amariyeh neighborhood of western Baghdad, colleague Abdullah Hamdullah Bardan Ruba'i told CPJ. Al-Mansouri was driving to the station's offices when he was attacked, Ruba'i said.

The gunmen took al-Mansouri's mobile phone, satellite phone, press card, and money, Ruba'i said. He said his colleague was rushed to a hospital but died shortly afterward. Ruba'i and CPJ sources said they believe al-Mansouri was killed because he was a journalist.

Al-Mansouri, a Shiite, received death threats a year earlier when he resided with his family in Baghdad, where sectarian violence had intensified, according to Ruba'i. The Associated Press reported that the journalist moved his wife and daughter to the Shiite-dominated city of Karbala following the threats, but chose to stay in Baghdad himself. He had dropped off his visiting wife at her parent's house in Al-Amariyeh around 7 p.m. the night of the attack, sources said.

Ruba'i said he, too, received death threats because he works for Iran's Al-Alam channel. Al-Mansouri was the first journalist from the Arabic-language Iranian satellite channel to be murdered.

The station, which started regular broadcasting in March 2003, was based in Tehran and run by IRIB, the Iranian state radio and TV service. It was opposed to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and, in hourly news bulletins, showed extensive footage of Iraqi civilians lying dead in residential areas or being treated in hospitals.

Riyad Muhammad Ali, Talafar al-Yawm, July 30, 2006, Mosul

Ali, a reporter for the weekly Talafar al-Yawm, was murdered by unidentified gunmen in Mosul's Wadi Aqab area late at night. The killers took the journalist's cell phone and the money he was carrying to pay the paper's printers, Editor-in-Chief Tareq Muhammad Ali told CPJ.

Ali gathered news from official sources, including the police and security forces, and enjoyed good relations with them, his editor said. Insurgents target journalists dealing with official sources, especially the police, he added. Ali, who is also the victim's brother, spoke with the killers via the stolen cell phone. They said they had killed him because he was an infidel and journalist. Ali described Talafar al-Yawm as pro-Iraqi government and pro-democracy, adding that the paper's reports had not refered to U.S. forces as occupiers. As a result, he said, the paper had received multiple threats from insurgents.

Mohammad Abbas Mohammad, Al-Bayinnah al-Jadida, August 7, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen shot Mohammad, 28, an editor for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah al-Jadida, as he left his home in the Adil section of western Baghdad to go to work early the morning of August 7, according to The Associated Press and CPJ sources.

Mohammad was highly critical of politicians and Iraqi officials regardless of sect or affiliation, a local source told CPJ. The journalist had received several death threats because he worked for the paper, local journalists said.

Ismail Amin Ali, freelance, August 7, 2006, Baghdad

The body of freelance journalist Ali, 30, was discovered in late evening by police in the eastern section of Baghdad known as al-Sadr City, according to a CPJ source. His body was riddled with bullets, and Iraqi police said they found signs of torture, The Associated Press reported.

A local source told CPJ that the journalist had been abducted while he was at a gas station in Al-Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad two weeks earlier. The kidnappers had demanded ransom, but his family was unable to pay.

A local source said Ali, a well-known Sunni columnist for several Baghdad-based papers, including Al-Sabah and Al-Qarar, may have been targeted because he was highly critical of the Shiite-dominated security forces.

Abdel Karim al-Rubai, Al-Sabah, September 9, 2006, Baghdad

Al-Rubai, 40, a design editor for Iraq's state-run daily Al-Sabah, was shot by several gunmen while traveling to work in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood known as Camp Sara. The driver of the car was seriously wounded, media sources told CPJ.

Al-Sabah reported two weeks earlier that it had received an e-mailed death threat against al-Rubai and his family, which was signed by the military wing of the Mujahedeen Council, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq. According to the e-mail, the group was angered by the editor's accusation that they were behind a car bomb attack on Al-Sabah on August 27, which killed a guard and an unidentified man.

"We have our reservations about this newspaper despite the fact that there are Iraqis working in it, but we condemn those false accusations against our resisting army, which issued just a few days ago a statement that forbids the killing of Muslims, especially Iraqis of any background or beliefs. But these allegations and accusations will not go unpunished, and we hold ... al-Rubai responsible for what will happen to him and his family since with the help of God we obtained their names and addresses. We will set an example out of him to those who think of destroying the unity of the Iraqi nation that is fighting the occupation," the e-mail published by Al-Sabah read.

Insurgents frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. About two dozen employees of the state-run Iraq Media Network, which includes Al-Sabah, had been killed in the war, most by insurgents.

Safa Isma'il Enad, freelance, September 13, 2006, Baghdad

Enad, 31, a freelance photographer for several outlets including the defunct newspaper Al-Watan, was shot in a photo print shop in Baghdad's Ur neighborhood, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization run by local journalists. Two gunmen entered the store on Sabah al-Khayat circle and asked for Enad by his first name, a source told CPJ. When the photographer replied, they shot him. They dragged his body to their car and dumped it east of Baghdad, the source said.

Al-Watan, based in Tikrit, was affiliated with the Iraqi National Movement, a party established in 2001, which receives funds from the United States. The paper closed two months earlier for lack of money and was trying to re-establish itself as a magazine.

Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, Baghdad TV, September 18, 2006, Ramadi

Six gunmen in two cars shot al-Karbouli, a reporter and cameraman, as he chatted with friends after midday prayers outside a mosque, CPJ sources said.

Al-Karbouli, 25, had received numerous death threats from insurgents over the past four months warning him to leave the satellite channel. Baghdad TV is owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a major Sunni political group in the country. The party joined the U.S.-backed Iraqi government earlier this year.

Ramadi, 70 miles (110 kilometers) west of Baghdad, forms the southwestern point of the Sunni Triangle, a focus of Sunni Muslim opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq. Many journalists with Baghdad TV, including the channel's other correspondent in Ramadi, received death threats, a source at the station said.

Al-Karbouli worked at Baghdad TV for two years covering security and the plight of the residents of Ramadi. According to CPJ sources, his features offended some insurgents in Ramadi. A month earlier, gunmen stormed into his house and threatened him in front of his family.

Hussein Ali, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Noufel al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Thaker al-Shouwili, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Ahmad Sha'ban, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad

Masked gunmen in at least five vehicles drove up to the fledgling satellite TV channel Al-Shaabiya in the eastern district of Zayouna around 7 a.m., burst into the offices, executed 11 people, and wounded two others. It was the deadliest single assault on the press in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Five of the victims were journalists.

Al-Shaabiya is owned by the National Justice and Progress Party, headed by Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari, who was killed in the attack, according to Reuters and CPJ sources. The small party ran in the preceding election but failed to win any seats. Al-Shaabiya had not yet gone on the air and had run only test transmissions. Executive Manager Hassan Kamil told Reuters that the station had no political agenda and that the staff had been a mix of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The station had not been threatened previously.

Kamil said some of the gunmen wore police uniforms, and all were masked. News reports said the gunmen's cars resembled police vehicles.

A local press freedom group, The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, named the dead as Chairman and General Manager Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari and his bodyguard, Ali Jabber; Deputy General Manager Noufel al-Shimari; presenters Thaker al-Shouwili and Ahmad Sha'ban; administrative manager Sami Nasrallah al-Shimari; video mixer Hussein Ali; and three guards identified by first names only: Maher, Ahmad and Hassan. The station's generator operator, whose name was not available, was also killed. A source at Al-Shaabiya confirmed the names.

Program Manager Mushtak al-Ma'mouri and news chief Muhammad Kathem were hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds.

Saed Mahdi Shlash, Rayat al-Arab, October 26, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen murdered Shlash and his wife as they drove up to their home in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Al-Aamariyeh, according to Abdullah al-Lamy, former head of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate.

Al-Lamy, a friend of Shlash, said the journalist was a reporter for Rayat al-Arab, a newspaper associated with the Movement of Arab Nationalists. Shlash often wrote critically about the U.S. occupation of Iraq and called on Iraqis to set religious and political differences aside and unite for a free Iraq. He received several death threats to stop practicing journalism or leave Iraq, al-Lamy told CPJ. Al-Aamariyah neighborhood is an insurgency stronghold where journalists are often targeted, CPJ research shows.

Naqshin Hamma Rashid, Atyaf, October 29, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen killed Rashid, 30, a presenter for the Iraqi state television channel Atyaf, and her driver, Anis Qassem, as the two were driving to work near Haifa Street in central Baghdad, according to CPJ sources.

Rashid, a Kurd also known by colleagues as Sherin Rashid, presented Kurdish-language news on Atyaf. Atyaf is part of the Iraqi Media Network and broadcasts in several languages, including Kurdish and English, according to CPJ sources. Colleagues at Al-Iraqiya, the main state television channel, said the murders were part of continued targeting of employees of the Iraqi Media Network.

About two dozen employees of the state-run Iraq Media Network, which includes Atyaf, were killed in the war, most by insurgents.

Muhammad al-Ban, Al-Sharqiya, November 13, 2006, Mosul

Unidentified gunmen shot al-Ban, 58, a reporter and cameraman for the privately owned Al-Sharqiya television station, as he was leaving his home in Mosul's Al-Nour neighborhood around 8 a.m., according to CPJ sources.

The gunmen used a Russian-made BKC machine gun mounted on the back of a pickup truck, a standard weapon used by Iraqi police and security, a CPJ source said. Four men then got out of the vehicle and shot several more times, the source said. Al-Ban's wife was wounded in the attack, The Associated Press reported.

According to a CPJ source, al-Ban received several death threats warning him not to cover Kurdish activities in the north. The source said that al-Ban's last report, on a Kurdish educational festival in Arbil, was done in defiance of the death threats.

Al-Ban worked for three years at Al-Sharqiya and was well known as an experienced journalist, according to a CPJ source. He had also been deputy editor of the leading local daily Al-Masar but had resigned seven months earlier to focus on his work for Al-Sharqiya.

Luma al-Karkhi, Al-Dustour, November 15, 2006, Baqubah

Al-Karkhi, 25, a reporter for the Baghdad-based daily Al-Dustour, was gunned down in the Tahreer neighborhood of Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad, while on her way to work. She stopped at a cell phone shop where several gunmen shot her, a source at the paper told CPJ.

Al-Karkhi had received several death threats from insurgents in Diyala province warning her to stop reporting, the source said. He said she had grown increasingly apprehensive about reporting in the province.

Nabil Ibrahim al-Dulaimi, Radio Dijla, December 4, 2006, Baghdad

Unidentified gunmen killed al-Dulaimi, 36, a news editor for the privately owned station, shortly after he left his home in Baghdad's Al-Washash neighborhood to go to work, sources at the station told CPJ. The station learned of the killing when a colleague called al-Dulaimi's home to inquire about the editor's whereabouts, the sources added. Radio Dijla had been targeted earlier in the year, when a broadcaster was kidnapped.

Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, Associated Press Television News, December 12, 2006, Mosul

Gunmen killed Lutfallah, 35, an Iraqi cameraman for APTN, as he covered clashes between insurgents and police in the northern city of Mosul. The Associated Press reported that Lutfallah was having his car repaired in the city's eastern Al-Karama neighborhood when insurgents and police began fighting nearby. He rushed to cover the clash. Police Brig. Abdul-Karim Ahmed Khalaf said insurgents spotted him filming, approached him, and shot him to death, AP reported. Lutfallah had not reported any prior threats against him, the news agency added.

Lutfallah began his career at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan-backed Kirkuk TV. He then worked for several other local television channels before joining APTN as a cameraman in 2005. Lutfallah is the second APTN cameraman to be killed under similar circumstances in Mosul. On April 23, 2005, cameraman Saleh Ibrahim was killed by gunfire near the city's Al-Yarmouk Circle, the scene of an earlier explosion that he and his brother-in-law, AP photographer Mohamed Ibrahim, had gone to cover.

Abdel Majid al-Mehmedawi, freelance, May 5, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

Al-Mehmedawi, who had reported on social issues, was murdered by unidentified gunmen in Baghdad's center, according to local sources. The motive for his killing was unknown.

Alaa Hassan, Inter Press Service, June 28, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

Hassan, 35, an Iraqi freelance reporter for Inter Press Service (IPS), was killed by assailants who sprayed his car with gunfire as he crossed Baghdad's Al-Muthana Bridge, a spot notorious for insurgent attacks.

"It appears he was not targeted but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, part of the senseless violence engulfing Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003," the news agency reported in July.

Hassan had only recently begun freelancing for the news service. He also managed a stationery store, according to Editor Sanjay Suri. Hassan was not on assignment for IPS at the time of his death, Suri said. "The only way from his neighborhood to central Baghdad was to cross the Al-Muthana Bridge over the Tigris River, a regular spot for insurgent attacks," wrote reporter Aaron Glanz, who worked with Hassan. "Because of an Iraqi police checkpoint and a bend, every car passing over the bridge has to slow down. Killings occur here many times a week."

Osama Qadir, freelance, June 29, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

The body of Qadir, a freelance cameraman who worked occasionally for Fox News and other media organizations in Iraq, was found on or about June 29 with several bullet wounds, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a local Iraqi press freedom group.

He had been abducted by unknown assailants in Baghdad about a week earlier. The circumstances surrounding his death were unclear. John Stack, a Fox News vice president, confirmed Qadir's death but said the journalist was not on assignment for the network at the time of his abduction. He said the station had no indication that the murder was in retaliation for his work.

Hadi Anawi al-Joubouri, freelance, September 12, 2006, Diyala (motive unconfirmed)

Al-Joubouri, 56, a freelancer and representative of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate in the eastern province of Diyala, was ambushed as he drove between Baquba and Khalis, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. His body was found riddled with bullets.

Azad Muhammad Hussein, Radio Dar Al-Salam, October 10, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

The body of Azad Muhammad Hussein, 29, a reporter for the Iraqi Islamic Party-owned Radio Dar Al-Salam, was identified in the Baghdad morgue on October 10, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization.

The journalist had been kidnapped from Al-Shaab neighborhood in northern Baghdad on October 3. The motive for the abduction and killing was not clear.

Raed Qays, Sawt al-Iraq, October 13, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

Unidentified gunmen murdered Qays, a journalist for radio station Sawt al-Iraq, according to CPJ sources. The assailants intercepted the journalist's vehicle in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Al-Dura, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory reported, citing the independent news agency Aswat al-Iraq.

Qays' sister, a passenger, was unharmed, the observatory said. Qays, 28, also worked for Radio Sumer, part of the Iraqi satellite network Al-Sumaria.

Ahmad al-Rashid, Al-Sharqiya, November 3, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

Al-Rashid, 28, an Al-Sharqiya correspondent, was shot in north Baghdad's Al-Aathamiya neighborhood, according to CPJ sources. Al-Rashid, who began working for Al-Sharqiya three months earlier, was visiting family when he was stopped by gunmen, asked to exit his car, and shot in front of witnesses, CPJ sources said. Al-Sharqiya is owned by the London-based Azzaman Group, which also publishes the Iraqi daily Azzaman.

Yasin al-Dulaimi, Radio Al-Mustaqbal, December 26, 2006, Baghdad (motive unconfirmed)

Al-Dulaimi, a Ramadi-based reporter for the local Al-Mustaqbal Radio, was killed in a bombing in Baghdad's Al-Kahdimiya neighborhood, where his parents lived, according to al-Dulaimi's colleagues. It was unclear whether al-Dulaimi was on assignment at the time. CPJ is investigating the circumstances of al-Dulaimi's death.

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