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Couso was married with two children. Directly after the attack, Maj. Buford Blount, commander of the U. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, confirmed that a single shell had been fired at the hotel from a tank in response to what he said was rocket and small arms fire from the building. Journalists at the hotel deny that any gunfire came from the building.
A CPJ report concluded that the shelling of the hotel, while not deliberate, was avoidable since U. The report called on the Pentagon to conduct a thorough and public investigation into the incident. Status of Investigation: On August 12, , U.
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Central Command Centcom issued a news release summarizing the results of its investigation into the incident. The report concluded that the tank unit that opened fire on the hotel did so "in a proportionate and justifiably measured response. The release also said "one mm tank round was fired at the suspected enemy observer position. It was only some time after the incident that A Company became aware of the fact that the building they fired on was the Palestine Hotel and that journalists at the hotel had been killed or injured as a result.
Centcom's results, which were summarized in the release, appeared to back away from earlier charges by U. Yet, despite considerable testimony to the contrary from several journalists in the hotel, Centcom maintains "that the enemy used portions of the hotel as a base of operations and that heavy enemy activity was occurring in those areas in and immediately around the hotel. In May , the Pentagon finally made public a redacted version of the U. Central Command investigation into the shelling. The U. Central Command investigation, which included interviews with platoon and company soldiers, was completed by June 5, , but the Pentagon did not clear its release until September The page report was released by mail from Fort McPherson, Ga.
Details of the Army report, focusing on the actions of the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Battalion 64th Armor Regiment, are mostly consistent with CPJ's own investigation into the shelling, which concluded that after a morning of heavy fighting near the Tigris River the tank opened fire on what it believed was an Iraqi "spotter" directing enemy fire at U. It appears from soldier testimony that troops likely mistook cameramen working on the hotel's balconies for the "spotters.
Intercepted Iraqi radio communications indicated that the only thing that soldiers of the 64th Armor Regiment were sure of is that the tanks near the Tigris River were "being observed from a 'multi-story' building; one high enough to be able to observe. That finding is at odds with CPJ's own investigation, which was based on interviews with about a dozen reporters at the scene. None of the journalists based inside the Palestine Hotel reported evidence of hostile fire coming from the hotel, CPJ's investigation found.
The report also fails to address the question of why U. The testimony of at least one soldier cited in the Army report appears to indicate that U. Mazen Dana, Reuters, August 17, , outside Baghdad Dana, a veteran conflict cameraman for Reuters news agency, was killed by machine-gun fire from a U. He had been reporting with a colleague near the prison after a mortar attack had killed six Iraqis there the previous night. The soldier in the tank who fired on Dana did so without warning, while the journalist filmed the vehicle approaching him from about 55 yards 50 meters.
There was no fighting in the area, and the journalists had been operating near the prison with the knowledge of U.
In an August 18 letter to U. A spokesman for Centcom in Iraq told CPJ that while Dana's killing was "regrettable," the soldier "acted within the rules of engagement. According to Shyioukhi, several journalists were also in the area. Shyioukhi said that after a short while Dana suggested that they approach the prison gates to begin filming.
At one point, Dana identified himself to a U. The soldier replied that he could not comment, and no spokesmen were available. Dana then asked the soldier if he and Shyioukhi could film the prison from a nearby bridge. According to Shyioukhi, the soldier politely told them they were welcome to do so. After filming from the bridge, located between and yards and meters from the prison, Dana and Shyioukhi, who were wearing jeans and T-shirts, packed their equipment in their car and began to head off for the Reuters office.
As they approached the main road to the prison, Dana noticed a convoy of tanks approaching and told Abbas to stop so he could film it. According to Shyioukhi, he and Dana were not apprehensive because the area was calm, and it was apparent that U. Neither Dana nor Shyioukhi were wearing flak jackets, and their car was not marked press. Dana exited the car and set up his blue, canvas-encased camera with a white microphone facing the tanks while Shyioukhi lit a cigarette.
Shyioukhi said Dana filmed for about 10 seconds, when suddenly, without warning, several shots rang out from the lead tank, which was approximately 55 yards 50 meters away. Shyioukhi ducked for cover then heard Dana scream and place his hand on his stomach, which was bleeding profusely. He said that within moments of the shooting, approximately six U.
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Shyioukhi recounted that the soldier who shot Dana screamed at Shyioukhi to "stand back. The APC took Dana back to the prison complex for treatment and to get him evacuated to a hospital. Guy Shields called Dana's death a "tragic incident" and promised to do everything to avoid a similar incident in the future. When questioned by London's Independent about the rules of engagement for U. During wartime firing a warning shot is not a necessity. There is no time for a warning shot if there is potential for an ambush. And according to experts who train war correspondents, although one might easily mistake a camera for an RPG launcher at a distance, a camera would be clearly visible from 55 to yards 50 to meters —the distance at which Dana was hit.
The report absolved U. According to the report, the soldier who fired at Dana said he "saw a male wearing a black shirt and pants," with "dark skin and dark hair" and mistook Dana's camera for a rocket propelled grenade launcher. The Dana report did offer useful safety recommendations, which include calls to improve military communication regarding the presence of journalists in conflict areas, improve communications between the military and the media, and reassess the rules of engagement for U.
Few if any of these appear to have been implemented. Kareem and his colleague were shot as they sought refuge in the bureau.
Iraq Report: Killed by U.S. Forces
The colleague, a cameraman, survived. Kareem and his colleague had decided to work outside because there was no electricity in the building and the office was excessively hot. Status of Investigation: CPJ has no knowledge of any military investigation that was conducted into this incident. The two journalists, along with a technician and a driver, were covering the aftermath of a rocket attack against the Burj al-Hayat Hotel, according to Al-Arabiya.
The crew arrived at the scene in two vehicles and parked about to yards to meters from a checkpoint near the hotel. Technician Mohamed Abdel Hafez said that he, Abdel Aziz, and al-Khatib approached the soldiers on foot and spoke with them for a few minutes but were told they could not proceed. As the three men prepared to depart, the electricity in the area went out and a car driven by an elderly man approached U.
Abdel Hafez said that as the crew pulled away from the scene, one of their vehicles was struck by gunfire from the direction of the U. Abdel Hafez said he witnessed two or three U. He said there had been no other gunfire in the area at the time. Bullets passed through the rear windshield of the car in which Abdel Aziz and al-Khatib were driving. Abdel Aziz died instantly of a bullet wound, or wounds, to the head, while al-Khatib died in a hospital the next day, also of head wounds.