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Four journalists narrowly escape car bomb attack in Baghdad

Deadly attack: Burnt vehicles are seen on a road after bomb attacks at a police academy in eastern Baghdad December 1, 2008. An apparently coordinated car bomb and suicide bomb attack at Baghdad's police academy killed 15 people on Monday and wounded 45 others, police said.Photo: Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani

A team of journalists working for US media company National Public Radio had a narrow escape from a car bombing in Baghdad after Iraqi soldiers warned them that a device had been attached to the bottom of their armoured car. The bomb exploded about 15 feet from the NPR journalists. It destroyed the car but nobody was injured.

Ivan Watson, a 33 year-old reporter for NPR on temporary assignment in Iraq, told the Associated Press (AP) he had gone to interview people in a kebab cafe a few yards from an Iraqi army checkpoint. Watson, who is normally based in Turkish capital Istanbul, was accompanied by producer and translator Ali Hamdani and two drivers who refused to be named for security reasons.

The group returned to their armored car, which was parked out front, about 45 minutes later but were stopped by Iraqi soldiers who said they had been informed minutes earlier that a bomb was attached to the car, the AP report said. The bomb, which had been placed underneath the driver's side, exploded about 15 feet from the NPR journalists.

Iraqi and American soldiers, who cordoned off the area, said the bomb was possibly detonated by remote control. The Iraqi soldiers said they had arrested a suspect, an egg vendor who had suspected family links to a member of al-Qaida in Iraq.

In a statement issued in Washington, NPR expressed gratitude for the "swift actions by Iraqi authorities" in warning its employees about the bomb and preventing them from entering the vehicle. "Despite Sunday's attack, and the continued danger and difficulty of reporting from Iraq, even as the violence levels there fall, NPR remains committed to full and complete coverage of this important story," the statement added.

Date posted: December 1, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 227