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Lloyd killed by US helicopter fire, claims Iraqi

Jason Deans
Wednesday September 10, 2003

Terry Lloyd
Lloyd: ITN insists 'no significant new evidence has come to light'
ITN reporter Terry Lloyd was "walking and talking" hours after being attacked in Iraq having suffered relatively minor wounds, an Iraqi businessman claimed today.

However, he was killed after he came under attack from friendly fire a second time - this time on the way to hospital for treatment.

Almost six months after the journalist died, a rescuer has come forward to say he picked him up at the scene of the initial ambush and was taking him to hospital when they came under fire from a US helicopter.

"He would have lived if I'd got him to safety. He only had a wound to his shoulder and was walking and talking to me," said Hamid Aglan.

In an interview in the Daily Mirror billed as "shock new evidence", the Iraqi businessman said he told British forces what had happened after the end of the war but he was ignored.

Mr Aglan said he came across Lloyd when on a routine business trip in his minibus. He claims he found the journalist sitting beside his burning jeep on a road south of Basra.

"It was total chaos - destroyed army vehicles and dead and wounded men. There was also a Jeep with the letters TV on its side," Mr Aglan said.

"Some soldiers flagged me down and begged me to take them to hospital. I was loading them into the back of the bus when the journalist asked me to take him too.

"He told me he was Russian - maybe he didn't want to admit he was British - and was wearing a bloodied yellow shirt. He was tired from his wound, so I helped him into the minibus and he lay down by the door."

There was no sign of the other three ITN men but their second jeep was still at the scene, along with destroyed Iraqi army vehicles and dead and wounded soldiers, according to Mr Aglan.

Mr Aglan said his Mitsubishi minibus was fired on from behind by a US helicopter as he drove away.

"I heard the noise of the bullets coming into my bus, from behind and above. I was terrified and thought we were all going to be killed," he said.

"But after the helicopter attack, he [Lloyd] stopped moving and was covered in blood. He was dead when we reached hospital 10 minutes later. Doctors said he was shot in the head," he added.

"I was told he would have died instantly. There was nothing anyone could have done for him after he was hit."

Basra hospital staff have confirmed Mr Aglan handed Lloyd over to them on March 22 and British military police investigating the ITN man's death are said to be treating his testimony as "highly credible".

This shocking new claim could throw fresh light on the circumstances in which Lloyd died near Basra.

The defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, ordered a British army investigation into the death of Lloyd and his two ITN colleagues, cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman, following pressure from the broadcaster, relatives and the French president, Jacques Chirac.

Lloyd was the first of 16 journalists to die in the war, a victim of friendly fire.

Lloyd, Nerac and Othman were travelling with another ITN colleague, French cameraman Daniel Demoustier, on a road south of Basra in two jeeps when they were caught in crossfire between allied and Iraqi forces.

Mr Aglan has been interviewed in Basra by British army investigators, who are awaiting the results of forensic tests on his minibus.

Nerac and Othman's bodies have not yet been found but the military now believe the men were captured and executed by Saddam Hussein's fedayeen militia, according to the Mirror.

Demoustier hid in a ditch before being rescued by Mail on Sunday journalist Barbara Jones.

Lloyd's body was found in a Basra hospital several days later and, until now, he was believed to have died in the initial firefight south of the city.

British army investigators are also trying to trace the three surviving Iraqi soldiers who were in the back of Mr Aglan's minibus with Lloyd when the helicopter attack took place.

One Iraqi soldier was also killed in the attack.

To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or phone 020 7239 9857

 ITN's Terry Lloyd and crew
27.05.2003: MoD opens ITN Iraq inquiry
16.04.2003: Wife of missing ITN man in fresh appeal
15.04.2003: Lloyd 'caught between crossfire'
15.04.2003: ITN crew remain missing in Iraq
03.04.2003: Powell responds to wife of missing cameraman
03.04.2003: US and UK 'know what happened' to Lloyd and his crew
01.04.2003: Families of missing reporters ask Jesse Jackson for help
25.03.2003: Wife in plea for missing ITN cameraman
24.03.2003: BBC takes care after journalist's death
24.03.2003: Colleagues mourn ITN reporter's death
24.03.2003: ITV stands down crews after Terry Lloyd is killed
24.03.2003: Terry Lloyd obituary by David Mannion
24.03.2003: Terry Lloyd obituary by David Nicholson

 War toll
16.04.2003: Journalists killed, missing and held in Iraq
09.04.2003: Media casualties of other conflicts
09.04.2003: Iraq - the most dangerous war for journalists

 Interview with wife of missing cameraman
01.05.2003: 'Whenever I dream about him, he is still alive'

 Comment and analysis
15.06.2003: Philip Knightley: Turning the tanks on the reporters
13.04.2003: Stuart Purvis: Showing courage in line of fire
10.04.2003: Steve Bell: Drawing fire
24.03.2003: Matt Wells: Journalists in the line of fire
08.04.2002: Nik Gowing: 'Don't get in our way' special report
Iraq - the media war

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