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Five killed in attacks as Baghdad bans motorcycles

Second Iraqi journalist killed in as many days
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) Sept 8, 2010 - A second television presenter was killed in Iraq in as many days Wednesday, police said, after a watchdog reported that the war here has been the deadliest for the media since World War II. Sabah al-Khayat was shot dead in front of his house while departing for work at the Al-Mosuliyah satellite television station, where he presents a programme devoted to mosques and shrines in the main northern city of Mosul. "Armed men shot the journalist Sabah al-Khayat in front of his house in central Mosul while he was leaving for work," a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. His shooting came a day after Riad al-Saray, a prominent anchorman who presents political and religious programmes for state broadcaster Al-Iraqiya, was gunned down in west Baghdad.

Saray's death drew condemnation from media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which on Tuesday urged Iraqi authorities to launch an investigation. "It would be deplorable it this killing were to go unpunished, which unfortunately has been the case in 99 per cent of the 230 murders of journalists and media workers since the US-led invasion in 2003," it said in a statement. The RSF statement coincided with the launch of a report by the Paris-based media watchdog entitled "The Iraq War: A Heavy Death Toll for the Media," covering the period from March 2003 until August 2010. "The second US war with Iraq was the most lethal for journalists since World War II," said the statement, which comes less than a week after Washington officially ended its combat mission in Iraq. "Reporters Without Borders tallied 230 cases of journalists and media staff killed in the country since the conflict broke out on 20 March 2003. That is more than those killed during 20 years of the Vietnam War or the civil war in Algeria," it added.
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 8, 2010
A spate of bomb attacks and shootings in Iraq on Wednesday killed five people, including a television presenter, as Baghdad imposed a ban on motorcycles ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

The violence, which left dozens wounded, came three days after a coordinated suicide attack on an Iraqi military complex in Baghdad killed 12 people and injured 36.

In the main northern city of Mosul, Sabah al-Khayat was shot dead in front of his house while departing for work at the Al-Mosuliyah satellite television station, where he presented a programme on mosques and shrines in the city.

"Armed men shot the journalist Sabah al-Khayat in front of his house in central Mosul while he was leaving for work," a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His killing was the second such murder of a television journalist in Iraq in as many days, with Riad al-Saray, a prominent anchorman who presented political and religious programmes fo state broadcaster Al-Iraqiyah, killed on Tuesday in west Baghdad.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned Saray's killing on Tuesday, and in a new report said the conflict in Iraq had resulted in the most deaths of journalists and media staff of any war since World War II.

Meanwhile, in Wednesday's deadliest attack, a vehicle packed with explosives was detonated and quickly followed by a roadside bomb near a bus terminal in the south Baghdad neighbourhood of Bayaa, killing two people.

Officials from the ministries of defence and interior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more than 20 others were wounded, including 10 members of the Iraqi security forces.

And on Al-Sheikh Omar street in the centre of the capital, two near-simultaneous roadside bombs killed one person and wounded a dozen others, the interior ministry official and a doctor said.

Baghdad Operations Command also said that it was enforcing a ban on motorcycles in the city until further notice, ahead of the three-day Eid al-Fitr festivities which could begin Thursday to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Bans on motorcycles -- which have been used in deadly attacks in Iraq -- are often implemented around major holidays in the country.

Also on Wednesday, a farmer was killed in the central Iraqi town of Mayndili when his truck was struck by a roadside bomb inside his farm, said Major Mohammed al-Karkhi, spokesman for police in Diyala province north of Baghdad.

The motives for the attack, which also left his son wounded, was unclear.

The unrest comes a day after two American soldiers were gunned down by an Iraqi comrade following a row, US and Iraqi military officials said.

Violence has spiked in Iraq in recent months, with July and August recording the highest monthly death tolls here since mid-2008, according to figures released by local officials.

The country has been mired in a political stasis as no new government has formed since elections six months ago, and the latest attacks come a week after Washington declared an official end to combat operations here.

Nearly 50,000 American troops remain stationed in the country, though they have been charged with what has been labelled an "advise and assist" mission.

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