Mosul journalist shot to death on her way home from work

A 35-year-old Iraqi journalist was shot to death Sunday on her way home from work in Mosul, officials said, the second female journalist to be killed in the northern city this month. The attack against Zeena Shakir Mahmoud occurred about 3:35pm in the predominantly Sunni Arab neighbourhood of Intisar in eastern Mosul, police Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Jubouri said.

 It occurred even as Prime Minister Nouri Maliki marked Iraqi Journalists’ Day by acknowledging the high numbers of media workers who have been killed in Iraq, saying their “blood was mixed with the blood of Iraqi people who die every day for the sake of defending Iraq.” Mahmoud, a former radio broadcaster, was writing about women’s affairs for the Haqiqa newspaper, an organ of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, according to Abdul-Ghani Ali Yahya, head of Journalists Union of Kurdistan. Although she worked for a Kurdish newspaper, she was a Sunni Arab.

 Mosul, 360 kilometres northwest of the capital, has become the second-most dangerous location for journalists in Iraq. At least 15 journalists have been killed in the city and the Ninevah province that surrounds it, compared with 62 killed in Baghdad province.

On June 7, Sahar Haidari, a 45-year-old journalist who covered political and cultural news for the independent Voices of Iraq news agency, was killed by gunmen in the central neighbourhood of Hadbaa.

 Mahmoud had been a broadcaster for the Voice of Mosul radio, which is run by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, before she went to work for the newspaper, the journalists’ union chief said, calling the killing “a criminal act.” The head of Kurdistan journalists union claimed in his statement that the government provide security to protect journalists, a demand which the prime minister’s statement addressed, saying, “to show our appreciation to the Iraqi media and journalists, we ordered the concerned authorities to prepare a project to protect Iraqi journalists.” Before Mahmoud’s death, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists had recorded at least 108 journalists killed since the Iraq war began in March 2003. Eighty-six of them were Iraqis.

 They include five employees of the Associated Press who have died violently in Iraq since the war began. The most recent victim was Said M. Fakhry, 26, an AP Television News cameraman shot dead May 31 in his Baghdad neighbourhood.

 The prime minister promised to award 4,000 plots of lands to the families of journalists who have been killed, according to a statement released by his office.

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