Weapon or camera? US troops can't seem to tell
Questions have been asked about US decisions
after three journalists were killed in two attacks yesterday
THREE journalists were killed in Baghdad in two separate attacks
by US troops yesterday, prompting an outcry about the Americans'
|Possibly mistaking this video
weapon camera for a weapon at the Palestine Hotel
(above), the crew of a US tank opened fire, killing
Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk
Two cameramen, one from news agency Reuters and one from a
Spanish TV channel, were killed when an American tank fired a single
shell high up at the Palestine Hotel, where most of the
international media are based.
The shell struck the 15th floor where Reuters staff were
The cameramen were identified as Mr Taras Protsyuk, 35, a
Ukrainian national, and Mr Jose Couso, 37, from Spain's Telecinco
The deaths might have been a tragic error of judgment - Mr
Protsyuk's camera lens may have been mistaken for a rocket-propelled
grenade launcher, according to reports.
In a separate attack earlier yesterday, Al Jazeera cameraman
Tarek Ayoub, 34, died in hospital from wounds sustained during a US
bombing of the Qatar-based network's Baghdad office.
The three deaths bring to 12 the number of journalists killed
since the war began 20 days ago. Four journalists died in the first
A single US tank round had been fired at the Palestine Hotel in
response to rocket and small-arms fire from inside, according to the
commander of the US 3rd Infantry Division, General Buford
Reporters at the scene disputed his account.
'I never heard a single shot... certainly not from the hotel,'
said British Sky TV reporter David Chater.
|Al Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub
was also killed. -- AFP|
Three other Reuters staff were wounded in the attack. The
agency's British-based editor-in-chief, Mr Geert Linnebank, said:
'Taras' death, and the injuries sustained by the others, were so
A Spanish Defence Ministry official in Madrid said his country
would demand an explanation from Washington for Mr Couso's
American Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks told a Central Command
briefing yesterday: 'We certainly know that we don't target
journalists. That's just not something we do. We also know that the
locations where the regime does its work... will put civilians at
The International Federation of Journalists said the US attack on
the hotel was a possible war crime.
Al Jazeera Baghdad correspondent Majed Abdel Hadi said: 'We were
targeted because the Americans don't want the world to see the
crimes they are committing.' -- Information compiled from Reuters,
AP, AFP, Bloomberg