Video shows U.S. pilot firing on Reuters' Iraqi staffers

10:16, April 06, 2010      

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This image taken from the video released Monday shows men gathering on a Baghdad street on July 12, 2007, shortly before they were fired upon. (Photo source: wikileaks.org)

The Web site Wikileaks.org released a graphic video on Monday showing U.S. forces firing repeatedly on people along a Baghdad street on July 12, 2007.

WikiLeaks said the attack victims included Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his assistant and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. The identities of the other casualties are unknown.

The video shows military personnel aboard the Apaches indicating they spot the suspects toting several AK-47s and several RPG's. But WikiLeaks contends that the Reuters photographers were only carrying cameras, which the military mistook for weapons.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the video and audio were authentic.

"At this time, we are working to verify the source of the video, its veracity, and when or where it was recorded," a statement from U.S. military headquarters in Iraq said late Monday.

Wikileaks said it obtained the video "as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers."

David Schlesinger, Reuters' editor-in-chief, said the video released by WikiLeaks showed the deaths of Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh were "tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones."

Reuters has pressed the U.S. military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the killing of the two staff.

The United States Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released late Monday the redacted report on the case, showing pictures of what it said were machine guns and grenades found near the bodies of those killed, the New York Times reported.

It also stated that the Reuters employees "made no effort to visibly display their status as press or media representatives and their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the coalition ground forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them."

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:intern1)

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