Jewish Journal

Reporter killed in Iraq covering sectarian violence

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 16, 2007 | 12:51 am

Like we need a reminder that things are really bad in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 14—On Sunday afternoon, Salih Saif Aldin set out for one of Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods. He knew exactly where to go. He nodded, smiled, grabbed his camera. There was nothing he needed to say.

Saif Aldin always came back—from death threats, from beatings, from kidnappings, from detentions by American soldiers, from the country’s most notorious and deadly terrain—but on Sunday he didn’t. The 32-year-old Iraqi reporter in The Washington Post‘s Baghdad bureau was shot once in the forehead in the southwestern neighborhood of Sadiyah. He was the latest in a long line of reporters, most of them Iraqis, to be killed while covering the Iraq war. He was the first for The Washington Post.

“The death of Salih Saif Aldin in the service of our readers is a tragedy for everyone at The Washington Post. He was a brave and valuable reporter who contributed much to our coverage of Iraq,” said Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post. “We are in his debt. We grieve with his family, friends, fellow journalists and everyone in our Baghdad bureau.”

At 2 p.m., Saif Aldin took a taxi from The Post’s office to Sadiyah to interview residents about the sectarian violence there between Shiite militiamen and Sunni insurgents. It was his third trip to the embattled neighborhood within a week. For him, there were no red zones, no green zones, no neighborhoods out of bounds.

Two hours later, a man picked up Saif Aldin’s cellphone and called a colleague at The Post to say he had been shot.

Residents of the neighborhood and Iraqi military officers at the scene said Saif Aldin was killed while taking photographs on a street where several houses had been burned. His wounds appeared to indicate he was shot at close range. His body was later observed lying on the street, covered with newspapers.


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