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April 8, 2003 journalist deaths by U.S. fire

On April 8, 2003, three locations in Baghdad housing journalists were fired upon by U.S. armed forces during 2003 invasion of Iraq, killing three journalists and wounding four.

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Al Jazeera's office

Two of American air-to-surface missiles hit the Qatar satellite TV station Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad and killed Tariq Ayoub, a Jordanian reporter, and wounded Zouhair al-Iraqi, an Iraqi cameraman. They were live broadcasting on the roof of the building. Al Jazeera accused the U.S. of intentionally targeting Al Jazeera as the U.S. bombed its Kabul bureau[?] in 2001 during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Palestine Hotel

A U.S. army tank fired into the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel[?] in Baghdad, where almost all foreign journalists base on, and killed the Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and wounded three. Jose Couso of Telecinco Spanish television who was on the 14th floor also died.

AFP[?] reported there was no fire aimed at the tank, based on picture taken by a French TV station. Journalists on the scene also testified there was no fire from or around the hotel. General Buford Blount, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said it was a response to Iraqi fire from the hotel. The French TV showed the tank's artillery aimed at the hotel for at least two minutes before it fired.

On that day Spanish government has decided to demand for explanation to the U.S.

Abu Dhabi's office

Office of the United Arab Emirates satellite channel Abu Dhabi was hit by air strikes. The station airs the picture of Iraqi fire from beneath of the camera.

Responses to the three in general


At breiefing from The Pentagon on April 8, a reporter asked "(...) There are reports that a tank took small arms and perhaps R.P.G. fire from the direction of the hotel, although journalists say that they saw no sign of it. Do you think that's reason enough for a tank to fire a round at the hotel where you know there are unarmed journalists?"

Major General Stanley McChrystal answered "(...) particularly with this war, journalists have been closer to coalition soldiers than probably ever before with the embedded program, and those who are not. (...) When [forces] get into combat in the cities, which, from the beginning, we had specifically said would be dangerous and difficult, you put yourself in their position, they had the inherent right of self-defense. When they are fired at, they have not only the right to respond, they have the obligation to respond to protect the soldiers with them and to accomplish the mission at large (...)."

U.S. Central Command

At a briefing in Doha, Qatar, Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks said of the Al Jazeera attack, "This coalition does not target journalists. We don't know every place journalists are operating on the battlefield. It's a dangerous place indeed."


On March 8, Spanish and Portuguese governments insisted all the journalists of the countries to evacuate from Baghdad.

Journalist and civil organizations

Committee to Protect Journalists[?] sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to demand investigation. Reporters Without Borders[?] demanded proof to Donald Rumsfeld that the incidents "were not deliberate attempts to dissuade the media from reporting." Amnesty International demanded independent investigation.

See also


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