Report: AP Cameraman, Carrying Rifle, Killed in Iraq Opposing Al-Qaeda

By: Greg Mitchell Jane Arraf, the well-known CNN and NBC correspondent now writing for the popular Web site, IraqSlogger, revealed Friday night that the brothers of the Associated Press cameraman killed in Baghdad on Thursday say that he was carrying a rifle in trying to hold off al-Qaeda militants in his neighborhood.

A picture of the photographer, taken by Arraf, also appeared on the front page of the site, being treated in vain by a U.S. Army medic. Other pictures show brothers of the slain man -- also journalsits -- grieving, along with his coffin.

Arraf has been embedded with the Army "Stryker" unit.

The subhed on the article stated: "Off-Duty, Armed APTN Cameraman Dies a Hero Defending his Neighborhood."

Her report, which was held up for a time due to embedding rules, opens as follows. The entire story is available at

They were still bringing in the wounded when we arrived at the mosque in southern Amiriya Thursday morning, racing from the armored vehicles surrounded by bursts of gunfire.

An American soldier was among the casualties ? killed by small arms fire. His name is being withheld. His commanders said he was an exceptional young man who re-enlisted after surviving a mortar attack that killed his roommate.

The Iraqi wounded were taken to the mosque ? laid out on the teal blue carpet stained by pools of blood and littered with shards of glass from the shattered ceiling panels which had read 'There is no God but God.'

One of them was Saif Mohammad Fakhry, an Iraqi cameraman with the television news agency APTN. His brother said he had gone out in the street with a gun after suspected al-Qaeda militants attacked the neighborhood.

A doctor from the U.S. Army?s Stryker brigade, sweating with heat and exertion, worked frantically to insert a chest tube in his side to try to keep his lung from collapsing. I turned away for a moment as an American medic worked on an Iraqi man who had been shot in the face. When I turned back ? he had died.

The Army?s Arabic interpreter who had held Saif?s hand knelt by him to pray. Saif, 26, was the younger brother of Omar Fakhry, 33, a photojournalist for Arabic television stations and Yasser Fakhry, 31, who was also an Iraqi journalist. They shouted in grief...

Saif?s phone rang ? Omar reached into his brother?s blood-splattered pockets and pulled it out....

Saif had gone into the street carrying the rifle that each family in Baghdad is allowed to own. The U.S. military normally considers guns on the streets justification to shoot on sight but in Amiriya that rule was relaxed as neighborhood men spurred on by religious leaders gathered to fight al-Qaeda.

?They have a better ability to find and kill al-Qaeda that we do,? said Lt Colonel Dale Kuehl, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment responsible for the area.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here