US Army'justi?ed' in ?ring on journalists

Reuters is demanding to see the full report made by the US Central Command after the American military concluded that the US Army was justi?ed in opening ?re on the Palestine Hotel killing two journalists.

US Central Command concluded on Tuesday that US troops acted appropriately when the tank opened ?re on the popular residence for foreign journalists. It also implied that responsibility rested with journalists for not heeding repeated warnings to leave Baghdad. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Jose Couso, a cameraman for the Spanish channel Telecinco, were killed as a result of the attack on the hotel on 8 April.

“The activities on the balcony of the Palestine Hotel were consistent with that of an enemy combatant,” according to a statement issued by US Central Command. The investigation suggested that Iraqi ?ghters were using the hotel as a vantage point for attacking US troops. “They ?red a single round in selfdefence in full accordance with the Rules of Engagement. The enemy had repeatedly chosen to conduct its combat activities from throughout the civilian areas of Baghdad.” It went on: “Baghdad was a high intensity combat area and some journalists had elected to remain there despite repeated warnings of the extreme danger of doing so.”

A Reuters spokeswoman said the agency was keen to see the full report before it made a more detailed response. “Reuters has been pushing for the US authorities to provide further information on the events that led up to this incident,” she said. Reuters’ own investigations concluded that there had been “a breakdown in communication. While senior US commanders in Baghdad knew that the Palestine Hotel was full of journalists, tanks on the ground were not fully aware of this,” the agency said.

By Wale Azeez

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