The family of French journalist Frederic Nerac, who has been missing in Iraq since March 2003, said Thursday they need more proof to back up the French government's conclusion that he was killed on assignment. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told Nerac's family Wednesday night the cameraman from Britain's Independent Television News was slain during a firefight between Iraqi and coalition forces close to Basra in southern Iraq. The conclusion is the result of an eight-month investigation conducted by a team of experts from the French Foreign and Defense Ministries.
When the firefight broke out, Nerac was riding in an Iraqi vehicle with his crew's Lebanese translator, Hussein Osman, whose body has since been identified, Nerac's son said. ITN correspondent Terry Lloyd was also killed in the incident.
The vehicle was found burned, but there is no video footage showing Nerac still inside it when it was destroyed, Alexandre Nerac said. Fabienne Nerac, the cameraman's wife, said that while the family needs more tangible proof of her husband's death, she is prepared for the worst.
Douste-Blazy told the family Wednesday that investigators would continue trying to retrieve Nerac's body.
Shortly after her husband's disappearance, Fabienne Nerac requested a meeting with then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to ask for American help in the investigation. Powell refused the request in November 2003. A.M.
Russian troops have completed the tasks of the special operation on Snake Island. In this connection, as an act of good will, Moscow has decided to withdraw the garrison of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation from the island