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April 8, 2003

(Reuters Photo)
Reuters Journalist Killed by U.S. Tank Hit on Hotel


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April 8

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A Reuters journalist was killed and three were wounded in Baghdad on Tuesday when a U.S. tank fired a shell at the media hotel where they were working.

A Spanish journalist was also wounded.

Television cameraman Taras Protsyuk, 35, a Ukrainian national based in Warsaw, died after the blast at the Palestine Hotel, base for much of the foreign media in the Iraqi capital.

Protsyuk had worked for Reuters since 1993 and had reported from conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Samia Nakhoul, Lebanese-born Gulf bureau chief for Reuters, and Iraqi photographer Faleh Kheiber were both treated in hospital for facial and head wounds and concussion.

Doctors said their injuries were not serious.

Television satellite dish coordinator Paul Pasquale, from Britain, was taken to hospital with leg injuries but doctors said he was not in danger.

The four were part of the 18-member Reuters team in Baghdad.

"We are devastated by the death of Taras, who had distinguished himself with his highly professional coverage in some of the most violent conflicts of the past decade," said Editor-in-Chief Geert Linnebank.

"Taras was one of our most experienced television journalists. He is sorely missed by his colleagues, friends and family."

Linnebank added: "I note that the commander of the U.S. Third Infantry in Baghdad has now said that one of its tanks fired a round at the Palestine Hotel.

"The commander said the tank did this after it came under fire from the hotel. Clearly the war, and all its confusion, have come to the heart of Baghdad, but the incident nonetheless raises questions about the judgment of the advancing U.S. troops who have known all along that this hotel is the main base for almost all foreign journalists in Baghdad.

"Taras's death, and the injuries sustained by the others, were so unnecessary, " Linnebank said.

Protsyuk leaves a widow, Lidia, and an 8-year-old son, Denis.

photo credit and caption:
Reuters Television cameraman Taras Protsyuk (L) and Spain's Tele 5 (Telecinco) television cameraman Jose Couso were killed when a U.S. tank fired a shell at the media hotel where they were working in Baghdad, April 8, 2003. Reporters saw the tank point its turret gun at the Palestine Hotel, home to most international media in the Iraqi capital. Seconds later a single shell slammed into the Reuters office on the 15th floor with a deafening crash. The U.S. military said it had been fired on first from the hotel but journalists there questioned the claim. Photo by Reuters/Reuters

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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