IFJ Warns of Iraq Terrorism as Journalist Dies in Mass Killing

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the bomb blast in the Iraqi city of Tikrit in which 57 people died including at least one journalist.  

Sabah al-Bazi, a freelance journalist who worked for Iraqi TV, Al Arabiya and various news outlets including Reuters and CNN was killed with others on Tuesday when bombs exploded as security forces stormed a government building in the city where gunmen were holding people hostages, including members of the provincial council who had gathered for a meeting and journalists covering the event, reports say.

"We condemn this barbaric act which has claimed so many innocent lives, including that of a working journalist," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This incident proves again that Iraq remains a dangerous region where journalists put their lives on the line whenever they are covering public events that are potential targets for terrorists."

According to media reports, gunmen attacked the meeting of the provincial council held in a government building in the northern city of Tikrit, the capital of Salaheddin province. Fighting broke out after security forces raided the building and gunmen set off bombs. As well as those killed some 90 people were wounded in the incident.

There were reports of another journalist killed in the blast but his identity has not been established.

The IFJ says that the latest attack shows that the safety of journalists in Iraq remains a serious concern despite the dramatic drop over the last three years in the deadly attacks in the country which claimed over 250 killings of journalists since the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"This tragic attack shows we cannot be complacent about the safety of our Iraqi colleagues," added White. "Journalists are on the front line and among the most likely to fall victims to indiscriminate acts of terror. More must be done to eliminate the threat of terrorism."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries