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Interpreter for news agency is slain in Iraq

July 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi interpreter for Reuters was shot to death in Baghdad, an apparent victim of sectarian death squads, the third Reuters employee killed in the Iraqi capital this week, the news agency reported Saturday.

London-based Reuters news agency did not identify the interpreter at the request of relatives, apparently to avoid publicizing the family's link to the company. The announcement of his death came a day after an Iraqi journalist who worked for the New York Times was killed by gunmen.

The 30-year-old interpreter was killed Wednesday while driving with two brothers in southeast Baghdad, an area where Shiite and Sunni militants operate.

"It appears the killing was one of the dozens of executions carried out every day in Baghdad by sectarian death squads that roam the city despite the presence of some 100,000 U.S. and Iraqi security forces in the city," the agency said in its report on his death.

The staffer usually took Thursday and Friday off. Reuters became concerned when he did not report to work Saturday, agency officials said. He had been working for the agency since March and was married with two young daughters.

His death brings to seven the number of Reuters employees killed in the Iraqi conflict, including Iraqi photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh, who died Thursday during a clash between American forces and Shiite militiamen.

The New York Times reporter, Khalid W. Hassan, was killed by gunmen as he drove to work Friday morning in south Baghdad.

The latest Reuters death brings to 151 the number of journalists and media support staffers, the majority of them Iraqis, killed since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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