‘Star Tribune’ Team Escapes Death in Iraq


(AP) A Star Tribune reporter and photographer escaped an attempt by two Iraqi fighters to kill them near the northern oil city of Kirkuk.

In a dispatch from Kirkuk published Friday, reporter Paul McEnroe said he and photographer Richard Sennott managed to flee a grenade-toting fighter Thursday and later watched as the other fighter died of a gunshot wound.

The two had gone to the oil refinery a few miles from Kirkuk after the city fell to Kurdish fighters Thursday. The Kurds are fighting on the side of the U.S.-British coalition.

The Iraqi Army had fled, McEnroe wrote, but up to 50 diehards from the Fedayeen Saddam militia had decided to make their final stand at the refinery.

After hiding throughout the afternoon in a bunker, two fighters “decided to take their death ride” and attack the two American journalists who were about 200 yards away, McEnroe wrote.

The two attackers jumped into a truck, but as they headed toward McEnroe and Sennott, their way was blocked by rifle-toting Kurdish militiamen.

The driver jumped out with a grenade in hand, McEnroe wrote, and yelled to the militiamen: “Just let me go — I won’t kill you, I want to kill the Americans!” He ignored a warning shot and screamed again: “Leave me to the Americans!”

One militiaman tried to wrestle the grenade out of the man’s hands, but the attacker broke away, McEnroe wrote. The Americans managed to flee safely and the man then ran away.

The remaining Fedayeen soldier, sitting on the passenger side of the truck, was shot by a militiaman and searched in case he had a hidden bomb. As he lay dying, McEnroe wrote, he stared up at the Americans he and his partner had tried to kill, saying, “My brother, my brother.”

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