GERDIGO, Iraq, Mar 22, 2003 (AP
Online via COMTEX) -- An apparent car bomb killed at least five
people, including an Australian cameraman, at a road checkpoint
Saturday near a camp of the al-Qaida-linked militant group Ansar
al-Islam. At least eight people were injured.
The group's base in northeastern Iraq was attacked overnight by
U.S. cruise missiles.
Also Saturday, Britain's ITN television news reported that three
members of an ITN news crew were missing after coming under fire en
route to Basra in southern Iraq.
The missing men were identified as reporter Terry Lloyd,
cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman.
Another cameraman, Daniel Demoustier, was injured as the crew
drove toward Basra in two vehicles. ITN said in London that
Demoustier was not able to see what happened to his colleagues.
The journalist killed in the north was Paul Moran, 39, a
cameraman with the Australian Broadcasting Corp., according to the
the company's Web site.
ABC correspondent Eric Campbell had minor shrapnel injuries, said
the online report, which called the attack a "suicide bombing."
Journalists had gone to the checkpoint to interview refugees
streaming out of the area that had been attacked. One of the cars
coming out with the refugees exploded, according to an account
pieced together from witnesses and reporters.
Another civilian and three Peshmergas, or Kurdish soldiers, also
were killed. None of their identities were made known immediately.
The shattered remains of a car were scattered around the
checkpoint near the tiny village of Gerdigo, about six miles north
The area is part of the Kurdish-controlled enclave protected from
Saddam Hussein's forces by U.S. and British aircraft that patrol a
no-fly zone over northern Iraq. The Ansar al-Islam camp, however, is
outside the control of Kurdish forces.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the main Kurdish group in the
area, seized control of the checkpoint Saturday from a rival group
that was driven away by the missile barrage.
After U.S. forces fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at suspected
positions of the Ansar al-Islam guerrillas, hundreds of people fled
Khurmal, which is about eight miles from the Iranian border.
"I am afraid of another barrage of missiles coming at us," said
Mohammed Rahman, 17, as he walked away from Khurmal with his
cousins, carrying a bag with clothing in it.
"We're living an abnormal life, we're living in endless fear and
war," said Rangi Said, 18 who carried a basket with food.
The Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders
said in a statement that Saturday's attack appeared to be targeting
journalists. The statement cited a photographer at the scene.
Moran, who was based in Paris, had worked extensively in the
Middle East. He is survived by his wife and baby daughter, the
Australian Broadcasting Corp. Web site said.
By BORZOU DARAGAHI Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2003 Associated Press, All rights reserved