The family of a Reuters photographer killed in an American military airstrike watched the video of it late Monday and burst into tears as they saw what appeared to be the crews of two American Apache attack helicopters kill their son and 11 other people, gloating at what the crewmen seemed to think was a successful strike on insurgents.
"At last the truth has been revealed, and I’m satisfied God revealed the truth," said Noor Eldeen, the father of the photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, who was 22 when he was killed in July 2007.
Other family members said Tuesday that the video was clear enough to remove any doubt about the identity of their son. Also among the dead was a Reuters driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40, The New York Times reported.
According to The Australian, Reuters news editor-in-chief David Schlesinger said in a statement yesterday that the deaths three years ago of Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver, Chmagh, 40, were "graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result".
A US military investigation at the time of the killings found the Apache helicopter crews involved had no reason to know that Reuters staff were among the group on the street. No action was taken against the crews.
An edited US military report issued yesterday, including statements from the Apache crews, said machine guns and grenades were found near the bodies.
The incident on July 12, 2007 killed 12 people. Two children were also wounded. The Pentagon has refused to confirm whether the video is real, claiming that it is working to authenticate the footage, but a senior US military figure has confirmed off the record that it is genuine.
The Iraqi Journalists’ Union today called for a government investigation into the shooting. Union chief Mouyyad al-Lami said that the footage was evidence of a crime and should be investigated.
Major Shawn Turner, a spokesman for US Central Command, said that an investigation into the incident shortly after it occurred found that US forces were not aware of the presence of the news staffers and thought they were engaging armed insurgents.
"We regret the loss of innocent life, but this incident was promptly investigated and there was never any attempt to cover up any aspect of this engagement," Major Turner said, Times Online informed.
An intense movement of NATO aircraft was reported at Poland's Rzeszow airfield near the Ukrainian border