September 14, 2008

Four Abducted, Killed While Doing Ramadan Film


By Christopher Torchia

The Associated Press


Gunmen abducted and killed four employees of an Iraqi television station who were filming a program Saturday about the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It was one of a series of attacks in Iraq that left at least 18 people dead.

A bomb concealed in a kiosk used to sell ice killed four security personnel and wounded nine people at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraqi officials said. Northeast of the capital, eight Kurdish soldiers died in a roadside bombing that reflected how ethnic tensions remain dangerously high.

The attacks underscored the persistent threat in Iraq despite significant security gains since last year.

Al-Sharqiya television said its employees were seized at noon in the northern city of Mosul as they filmed an episode for a program about Iftar, the evening meal at which Muslims break their sunrise- to-sunset fast during Ramadan.

The dead included Mussab Mahmoud al-Azawi, head of the station's office in Mosul, two camera operators and a driver.

An announcer at the station, which broadcasts to Iraq from Dubai by satellite, blamed the killings on "dark forces that are destabilizing the security in Iraq, silencing the voices of freedom and attacking the national independent media."

Brig. Khalid Abdul-Sattar, the police spokesman in Ninevah province, said two suspects were being questioned after a pistol and assault rifle were found in their car in the area of the slayings.

Also Saturday, gunmen stormed a house in eastern Mosul and killed a man and a woman, police and hospital officials said on condition of anonymity . A police officer said the victims were Sunni Arabs and the man was a taxi driver.

The dead in the bombing in eastern Baghdad included a member of a U.S.-funded armed Sunni group that has turned against al-Qaida in Iraq, police and medics said .

Originally published by BY CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA.

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