Two CNN employees killed, one injured in Iraq; Reuter’s managing editor seeks Pentagon investigation of military detentions of crew

Two CNN employees were killed and another was wounded Jan. 27 as they traveled in cars headed to Baghdad.

Dead are Duraid Isa Mohammed, 27, a translator and producer, and Yasser Khatab, 25, a driver. CNN cameraman Scott McWhinnie, who was traveling in a different car, was grazed in the head.

The attack occurred when a vehicle approached the CNN convoy from the rear. A shooter standing through the car’s sunroof opened fire with an AK-47. The car Mohammed and Khatab were in lost control and drove off the road.

McWhinnie was treated for his injury at a U.S. forward base.

In another incident related to the Iraq war, Reuter’s global managing editor David Schlesinger has sent a letter to the Pentagon expressing concern over the case of three Reuters employees detained Jan. 2 for three days by U.S. forces near Fallujah. Schlesinger requested that the Pentagon investigate the incident.

In a separate development, the Reuters news agency has lodged a written complaint with the U.S. military’s "failure to address its concerns about the safety of journalists in Iraq."

In a letter to the Pentagon, Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger expressed concern about the case of three Reuters employees who were detained on January 2 and held for three days by U.S. troops earlier this month near the Iraqi town of Fallujah. The letter reiterated Reuters’ request for a U.S. military investigation into the incident.

The Reuters employees were a cameraman, a journalist and a driver who had arrived on the scene of a downed U.S. helicopter. Reports indicate that a fourth journalist working for NBC was detained as well.

The letter from Schlesinger comes nearly two weeks after the Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to coalition commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez about the matter. In it, the CPJ executive director Ann Cooper wrote: “The journalists said they came under U.S. fire while attempting to cover the aftermath of the downing of a U.S. helicopter by guerrillas and were later detained by U.S. soldiers, Reuters reported.”

The three detained Reuters employees were cameraman Salem Ureibi, journalist Ahmad Mohammad Hussein al-Badrani, and driver Sattar Jabar al-Badrani. The NBC journalist involved was Ali Mohammed Hussein al-Badrani.

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