Grief and anger as Hebron buries Reuters cameraman shot by US troops
Wed Aug 20, 9:07 AM ET
HEBRON, West Bank (AFP) - Mourning and militancy mixed here as hundreds of Palestinians turned out for the funeral of Mazen Dana, the Palestinian cameraman shot dead by US forces in Iraq.
Some 400 Palestinians chanting praises of the 43-year-old Dana as well as the occasional anti-American slogan marched on the main street of the West Bank city of Hebron bearing the body of the veteran Reuters cameraman.
Dana was mistakenly shot in the chest Sunday by a member of a US tank crew as he was filming outside a prison near Baghdad, in an incident which sparked an international outcry.
The funeral procession which started at the Ah-Haras mosque in his hometown of Hebron was dotted with flags and banners from all Palestinian faiths, from the official Palestinian flag to the green banner of the radical movement Hamas.
Chants of "Mazen will forever remain in our memory" alternated with strident calls for a march on Jerusalem. "We don't want to see any Americans now!"
Among the mourners was Stephen Jukes, global head of news for Reuters, who said that the British-based news agency would vigorously pursue a full and thorough investigation of the shooting.
With a total of 17 journalists killed or missing since the Iraq war began in March, Jukes said "something is seriously wrong".
Jukes said the coffin, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, would be carried for burial in the main cemetery in Hebron with a memorial service planned for later Wednesday.
Dana's body was brought back from Iraq via Kuwait and Jordan.
The death of Dana, a veteran and award-winning cameraman, has triggered calls for an inquiry from media rights groups around the world and stirred emotions among Palestinian journalists.
Barred by the Israelis from entering the West Bank, journalists in Gaza staged their own ceremony, carrying an empty coffin covered by a Palestinian flag through the center of the city.
The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate also issued a statement demanding that Dana's killer be brought to justice for the shooting, which occurred the day before the cameraman was due to go home.
"We will not trust an American inquiry and we demand an international inquiry," the statement, adding that the Americans "do not care about freedom or journalists."
Dana was the second Reuters cameraman killed covering the conflict in Iraq, after Ukrainian-born Taras Protsyuk died when a US tank opened fire on Baghdad's Palestine Hotel in April.
The latest death came days after a controversial military investigation cleared US forces of improper conduct in the deaths at the hotel, which was filled with foreign journalists.
US officials described Dana's shooting as a "terrible tragedy", saying forces mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. They said the soldier in question is currently under investigation.
Press groups demanded a full investigation into the killing of Dana, who won an International Press Freedom Award given in 2001 by the Committee to Protect Journalists for his work in Hebron.
The Vienna-based International Press Institute said the Dana shooting "bears the hallmarks of a (US) engagement policy which invites the allied military to shoot first and ask questions later."
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also called for "a full investigation into the shooting and a public accounting of the circumstances" surrounding Dana's death.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Brussels described Dana's death as "more tragic evidence of what appears to be casual disregard of journalists' safety by military commanders."
Original URL: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1512&e=3&u=/afp/20030820/wl_afp/iraq_media_palestinian_030820130700
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