A 35-year-old Iraqi journalist was shot to death Sunday on her way home from work in Mosul, officials said, the second female journalist to be killed in the northern city this month.
The attack against Zeena Shakir Mahmoud occurred about 3:35 p.m. in the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Intisar in eastern Mosul, police Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Jubouri said.
It occurred even as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki marked Iraqi Journalists' Day by acknowledging the high numbers of media workers who have been killed in Iraq, saying their "blood was mixed with the blood of Iraqi people who die every day for the sake of defending Iraq."
Mahmoud, a former radio broadcaster, was writing about women's affairs for the Al-Haqiqa newspaper, an organ of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, according to Abdul-Ghani Ali Yahya, head of Journalists Union of Kurdistan. Although she worked for a Kurdish newspaper, she was a Sunni Arab.
Mosul, 225 miles northwest of the capital, has become the second-most dangerous location for journalists in Iraq. At least 15 journalists have been killed in the city and the Ninevah province that surrounds it, compared with 62 killed in Baghdad province.
On June 7, Sahar al-Haidari, a 45-year-old journalist who covered political and cultural news for the independent Voices of Iraq news agency, was killed by gunmen in the central neighborhood of Hadbaa.
Mahmoud had been a broadcaster for the Voice of Mosul radio, which is run by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, before she went to work for the newspaper, the journalists' union chief said, calling the killing "a criminal act."
The head of Kurdistan journalists union claimed in his statement that the government provide security to protect journalists, a demand which the Prime Minister's statement addressed, saying, "to show our appreciation to the Iraqi media and journalists, we ordered the concerned authorities to prepare a project to protect Iraqi journalists."
Before Mahmoud's death, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists had recorded at least 108 journalists killed since the Iraq war began in March 2003. Eighty-six of them were Iraqis.
They include five employees of The Associated Press who have died violently in Iraq since the war began. The most recent victim was Said M. Fakhry, 26, an AP Television News cameraman shot dead May 31 in his Baghdad neighborhood.
The prime minister promised to award 4,000 plots of lands to the families of journalists who have been killed, according to a statement released by his office.
In Other Developments: Two Sunni Arab blocs in Iraq's parliament boycotted the 275-seat house on Sunday because the Sunni speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, was not reinstated as they demanded. Muhannad al-Issawi, a spokesman for Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, had said that 44-seat bloc decided in a meeting Saturday to demand that al-Mashhadani preside over Sunday's session. "If the demand is rejected by other blocs, then the Accordance Front will suspend its participation in parliament," al-Issawi had told The Associated Press. The Sunni boycott threatens to further disrupt the work of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government as it seeks to enact legislation, under pressure from the United States, to reconcile the differences among Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish groups. The U.S. commander of a huge new offensive north of Baghdad, reclaiming insurgent territory day by day, said Sunday his Iraqi partners may be too weak to hold onto the gains. The Iraqi military doesn't even have sufficient ammunition, said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek. "They're not quite up to the job yet," he said. His counterpart south of Baghdad seemed to agree, saying U.S. troops are too few to garrison the districts he's ridding of insurgents. "It can't be coalition (U.S.) forces. We have what we have. There's got to be more Iraqi security forces," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch. The two commanders spoke after a deadly day for the U.S. military in Iraq. At least 11 soldiers were killed on Saturday from roadside bombings and other causes, leaving at least 31 dead for the week. A roadside bomb exploded at noon in central Samarra, north of Baghdad, killing four Interior Ministry special forces personnel in a passing utility vehicle, police reported. Farther north, Ninevah provincial police said gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed Ahmed Zeinel, a Shiite Kurdish member of the provincial council, as he left his house in Mosul on Sunday morning. In the largely Shiite city of Hillah, south of Baghdad, a car bomb Saturday evening killed at least two people and wounded 18 others, a hospital official reported. Hillah has been the target of some of the deadliest car bomb attacks by suspected Sunni Muslim extremists in the four years of insurgency and sectarian killings in Iraq.
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