BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A freelance journalist who worked for Reuters was among more than 50 people killed on Tuesday when gunmen attacked a local government building in Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Sabah al-Bazee, 30, who had contributed to Reuters in Iraq since 2004 and also worked as cameraman for several other media organizations, suffered shrapnel wounds in an explosion, said his cousin Mahmoud Salah, who confirmed his death.
Bazee was a native of Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad.
“On behalf of the entire team at Thomson Reuters, I wish to convey our sadness at the untimely death of Sabah al-Bazee,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler.
”He was a valued member of our team in Iraq and will be much missed by colleagues. This tragic incident shows yet again the risks journalists face daily in doing their jobs and to bring news to the world.
“Our thoughts are with Sabah’s family and friends.”
The building housing the provincial council in Tikrit was the target of an armed group, some wearing Iraqi forces uniforms, who set off car bombs, explosive belts and grenades to storm in and take hostages.
“We urge Iraqi authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice,” Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Committee to Protect Journalists Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement.
The New York-based media rights group ranked Iraq at the top of its Impunity Index last year, which lists countries where journalists are regularly murdered and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute their killers.
It said that since 1992, not including Bazee, 147 journalists and 54 media workers have been killed in Iraq.
Reporting by Rania el-Gamal in Baghdad and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Eric Walsh