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Arab journalist killed by US fire during Baghdad report

LONDON - A TV journalist for Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya was shot dead by US troops as he filmed a report in Baghdad, as the Iraqi capital erupted into violence yesterday killing at least 45.

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Mazen al-Tumeizi was among 12 people, all believed to be civilians, killed in the crossfire when a US helicopter began firing on a cheering crowd that had gathered by the burning wreckage of an American Bradley armoured personnel carrier.

About 50 people were wounded in the incident. Among them were a Reuters cameraman and an Iraqi reporter for The Guardian.

The American vehicle was damaged by a car bomb that wounded five US soldiers as fighting continued on Haifa Street, which is still said to be under control of Saddam loyalists.

Two American soldiers were injured and several more were wounded as they were hit by insurgents as they tried to evacuate the men.

A crowd of Iraqis began to gather around the burning vehicle and some began to dance and cheer in celebration. It was then that two US helicopters swooped in and opened fire on the street, hitting Al-Tumeizi with a single bullet.

Fifteen journalists were killed in Iraq last year, including British journalists Richard Wild, a freelance photographer and former ITN worker, and ITN reporter Terry Lloyd and cameraman Simon Cumber, who were also killed by friendly fire.

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