More journalists killed in Iraq than in 2009, says IPI

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VIENNA: More journalists have been killed in Iraq so far this year than in all of 2009, press watchdog IPI said Tuesday in a statement.

Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, a cameraman for the al-Hurra satellite channel, was killed Monday when a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car detonated in the town of Garma, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of the capital, police in nearby Fallujah said.

"Jawad is the fifth journalist to be killed in Iraq this year, and the third to be killed there in less than a month," the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said.

Nine other people died in rampant violence in the country on the same day.

In 2009, four journalists were killed in Iraq, against 14 the previous year and 42 in 2007, IPI said.

"Whilst, thankfully, this toll is nowhere near the heights seen during the war, Iraq cannot be allowed to slide backwards," IPI Press Freedom manager Anthony Mills said.

"On the contrary, the authorities must ensure that the killers of journalists are brought to justice. If a culture of impunity is allowed to continue to thrive, it may fuel further journalist killings," he added.

So far this year, Iraq has been fourth on a list of the world’s most deadly countries for journalists, after Mexico, Honduras and Pakistan, said IPI.

Between 2003, when US-led troops invaded Iraq, and 2008, 167 journalists were killed, according to an IPI toll.

A total of 273 Iraqis were killed as a result of violence in September, the lowest figure since January, according to government figures released on Friday.

The overall monthly death toll was the lowest in Iraq since January, when 196 people were killed in violence, and represents a 35 percent drop from August, when 436 people died.

The sharp decline in attacks comes after July and August recorded two of the highest monthly tolls since 2008, shortly after a brutal sectarian war across the country left tens of thousands dead.

The United States declared an official end to combat operations on September 1, though American troops can still fire their weapons in self-defence and conduct joint counter-terror operations with their Iraqi counterparts.

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