Russian Photojournalist Dmitry Chebotayev Killed in Iraq

By: Daryl Lang/PDN Online

Photojournalist Dmitry Chebotayev was killed in a bombing Sunday while on assignment in Iraq, according to news reports and his agency, World Picture News.

Chebotayev was traveling with U.S. forces in Diyala province when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. Six American soldiers were killed and two were wounded, according to the U.S. military. Russian news organizations identified Chebotayev as one of the casualties on Monday.

Chebotayev was covering the war for Russian Newsweek and had been in Iraq since March. He was in his late 20s; different reports listed his age as 27 or 29.

“Everyone here loved him, and loved working with him. He was a cheerful person who loved life,” Russian Newsweek editor Leonid Parfyonov told the Associated Press.

“While Dmitry was an experienced conflict photographer, he was killed at a time and place where experience means so little for members of the press,” said WpN editorial director Carlo Montali in an e-mail. “As a photo contributor to WpN, people in contact with him at the agency remember Dmitry as a positive and thoughtful person.”

This was Chebotayev’s first trip to Iraq and he was scheduled to return home to Moscow soon, Montali said. Chebotayev has also covered conflicts in Chechnya and the Middle East.

A selection of Chebotayev’s images are posted on his Lightstalkers profile.

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Web site has counted 100 working journalists killed in Iraq since March 2003, a figure not yet updated to include Chebotayev. Most of the deaths have been local journalists, many of whom were singled out and executed by gunmen.

IEDs are a constant danger in Iraq and have hurt journalists before, including the much-publicized attack in January 2006 that injured ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff. In the past week alone, separate roadside bombings have killed at least 14 U.S. troops and wounded 23, according to news releases from the military.

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