No warning; U.S. soldiers just fired.

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Posted by Sadie from D006060.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 at 10:36AM :

In Reply to: IFJ calls for Iraq probe after Dana posted by Sadie from D006060.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 at 10:27AM :

link for that last article is:

Cameraman shot dead by US troops
Julia Day
Monday August 18, 2003

A Reuters TV cameraman has been shot dead by American troops in Iraq after they mistook his camera for a grenade launcher.

Mazen Dana was killed on Sunday while he was filming outside a Baghdad prison that was hit by a mortar attack six hours before which had left six prisoners dead and 60 others wounded.

The final footage Dana filmed was of two US tanks coming toward him. Two shots were fired, apparently from the tanks, and Dana fell to the ground. He was taken away by a US helicopter for treatment.

US military officials this morning confirmed Dana was shot by American soldiers who saw him from a distance and mistook him for an Iraqi guerrilla. They thought his camera was a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

"This is clearly another tragic incident, it is extremely regrettable," said central command spokesman Sargeant Major Lewis Matson.

But Dana's driver, Munzer Abbas, claimed the soldiers knew he was a journalist.

"There were many journalists around. They knew we were journalists. This was not an accident," said Mr Abbas.

"One of the soldiers started shouting at us, but when he knew we were journalists, he softened. One of the soldiers told us they thought Mazen carrying a rocket-propelled grenade.

"We saw a tank 50 metres away, I heard six shots and Mazen fell to the ground," Mr Abbas added.

Stephen Jukes, the global head of news at Reuters, paid tribute to Dana, who he said was one of the news agency's most accomplished and dedicated journalists.

"Mazen was one of Reuters' finest cameramen and we are devastated by his loss. He was a brave and an award winning journalist who had worked in many of the world's hotspots," said Mr Jukes.

"He was committed to covering the story wherever it was and he was an inspiration to friends and colleagues at Reuters and throughout the industry," he added.

An outspoken critic of the Israeli government's treatment of journalists, Dana, a Palestinian, was honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists with an International Press Freedom Award in November 2001 for his work covering conflict in his hometown of Hebron in the West Bank.

"Words and images are a public trust and for this reason I will continue with my work regardless of the hardships, even if it costs me my life," Dana said after accepting the award.

His death brings to 17 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the war started March 20 including the veteran ITN reporter Terry Lloyd, who came under fire from coalition forces two days after war began.

Nineteen days later Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Spanish cameraman Jose Couso were killed when the Palestine Hotel, the main base for foreign journalists in Baghdad, was hit by US tank fire.

Dana had survived being shot at least three times in 2000 while covering the conflict in Palestine.

-- Sadie
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