On Tuesday, the Iraqi Journalists' Union called on the Iraqi government to investigate the killing of two Reuters employees by U.S. Apache helicopters, the Star Tribune said. They reported that the incident, which happened on July 12, 2007, has been reported before, but it was not until video footage of it was released by a Web site that anger over civilian killing at the height of the war was reignited.
The video was posted Monday by the Web site Wikileaks.org. It's a 38-minute black-and-white film that shows a group of men moving down a road, some of whom were believed to be carrying weapons. The gunships then attack the grup, killing most of the men, then destroy a van after people show up to help the wounded.
The aviators said on the tape they believed they killed 12-15 people. Among those are believed to be a Reuters photographer, his driver and the injury of two children. Reuters said it could not verify the video was of its employee dying; however, it did appear the victim had a camera slung over his shoulder.
The U.S. military said Monday it was investigating the authenticity of the video. According to the Star Tribune, a senior U.S. military official said the footage was authentic. He agreed to talk under anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the video, the Tribune said, and he did say that the military could also not confirm the identities of the Reuters employees who were supposedly killed.
The Star Tribune said the video happened at a time when violence was peaking in Baghdad and the U.S. death toll was increasing. In previous investigation into the incident, the U.S. military said the U.S. troops acted appropriately. However, the Star Tribune then reported that the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said a deeper investigation is needed in light of this video. According to this organization's research, at least 16 journalists have been killed by U.S. forces in Iraq since the U.S. invaded in March 2003.
So far, there is no evidence that journalists were intentionally targeted.