Baghdad, July 7 (IANS) Two Iraqi journalists were killed and a third was injured while covering fierce clashes between the Islamic State militants and Iraqi forces in Salahudin province on Friday, a security source said.
Reporter Su’dad Faris and photographer Harb Hazza’ from Huna Salahudin satellite channel were killed at Imam Gharbi village near Shirqat town, some 280 km from Baghdad, Xinhua news agency quoted the source as saying.
The village was the scene of a fierce battle after IS militants took control of it on Thursday. The Iraqi forces were engaged in heavy clashes to regain control of the village, the source said.
The three journalists were surrounded and ambushed by the extremist militants at a compound in the village with some security members, the source said, adding that troops were fighting to free the village and the besieged group inside.
The third reporter with the group was injured and still hiding in the compound with a fourth one, along with an officer from Salahudin provincial media office, the source added.
Imam Gharbi village was freed from the IS during the troops advance earlier this year, but dozens of IS militants came from the desert area early on Thursday and took control of the village, the source said.
The Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate said in a report that up to 14 journalists were killed in 2016, and more than 455 journalists have been killed in the country since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, who have been frequently targeted amid the chaos and insecurity since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The incident came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS international coalition, were simultaneously conducting a major offensive to dislodge the IS from their major stronghold in western Mosul.