First Published: 2004-05-28

Two Japanese journalists, Iraqi translator killed in Iraq

Son of Iraqi council member killed during attempt on her life.


Middle East Online

Khafaji targeted few days after the head of IGC killed

MAHMUDIYA, Iraq - Two Japanese journalists and their Iraqi translator were killed when their car was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade south of Baghdad on Thursday, hospital and family sources said Friday.

"One Japanese and his Iraqi translator are in the morgue but the police told me they had the body of a second Japanese," said Imad al-Malaki, a senior administrator at Mahmudiya hospital.

"According to my information, the incident happend at 6:00 pm (1400 GMT) between Mahmudiya and Latifiya. A rocket was fired at their car. The vehicle was incinerated and their corpses charred," he added.

"One of them is my brother. He was their translator. I recognised his nose, his belt and his jeans. He was Mohammed. He was 48," said Sabah Sabah Najmedin.

Another hospital source said the driver of the car was wounded, but that his relatives had taken him to Baghdad. The attack happened some 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of the capital.

Sources at the Japanese embassy said only that they were investigating reports that the reporters had been killed.

Early Friday, Tokyo's top government spokesman said that two Japanese journalists had been attacked in Iraq south of Baghdad.

He identified the two men as Shinsuke Hashida, a 61-year-old freelance journalist and veteran of war-zone reporting based in Bangkok, and his nephew Kotaro Ogawa, 33, from the western Japan city of Tottori.

In a separate incident Thursday, the son of the Iraqi Governing Council's woman member, Salama al-Khafaji, was also killed when her convoy was attacked at Yusufiyah, 20 kilometres south of Baghdad, a council spokesman said Friday.

Khafaji was not hurt in the attack but her son, Ahmed, was killed when the car he was travelling came under fire Thursday and crashed into a river, said Dr Mahmoud Othman.

"The son died in the shooting. Two or three of her bodyguards died as well," he said. Two other people were hurt and were being treated at Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital.

The convoy came under attack at Yusufiyah, 20 kilometres (13 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, as she returned from a trip to the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

Khafaji, a dentist, replaced another woman on the council who was killed in an attack outside her Baghdad home in September last year. Akila al-Hashemi, a secular Shiite Muslim, died three days after being shot.

The interim council's rotating chairman Ezzedine Salim was killed eleven days ago in a suicide bombing outside the headquarters of the US-led coalition in Baghdad.


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