Journalist, the most dangerous job in Iraq.
Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi special correspondent for Knight Ridder, the parent company of the Free Press, was shot and killed in western Baghdad on Friday as his car neared U.S. and Iraqi troops who had stopped to search a building for snipers.
Salihee, 30, was driving alone when a bullet pierced his windshield and then his skull. The shot appears to have been fired by a U.S. military sniper, though Iraqi soldiers in the area also may have been shooting at the time.
U.S. Humvees blocked three entry points to the intersection Salihee was approaching. The one he was driving toward was manned by Iraqi and U.S. soldiers on foot. It’s unclear how well he could have seen the troops, and whether they were in the road waving motorists away, or taking cover in case of sniper attack.
Most witnesses told another Knight Ridder Iraqi special correspondent that no warning shots were fired. But the front right tire of Salihee’s car was pierced by a bullet, presumably meant to stop him from advancing.
Iraqis in Baghdad often complain that U.S. and Iraqi soldiers set up positions in roadways without clearly marking them. Such roadblocks increase the likelihood that motorists won’t have time to stop before soldiers, worried about suicide car bombers, open fire, many Iraqis say.
The U.S. Army said it is investigating the incident.
Salihee began working for Knight Ridder in early 2004. He said he left his position as a doctor at Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital because of low salaries paid by the Iraqi government. But he volunteered at medical clinics on his days off.
He is survived by his wife, Raghad, also a physician, and their 2-year-old daughter, Danya.