Dr. Mohammed Bdaiwi Owaid Al-Shammari, the Baghdad bureau chief of RFE/RL's Iraq Service, Radio Free Iraq (RFI), was shot and killed at a checkpoint near his office this morning in an incident that company managers have called tragic, senseless and shocking.
Dr. Al-Shammari was shot on his way to work in the Jadriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, an area adjacent to the Presidential Palace.
The shooter has been identified as a member of Iraq's presidential guard.
RFE/RL editor in chief Nenad Pejic expressed extreme sadness and shock at the news. "Al-Shammari went through this checkpoint every day. It is inexplicable to us that this could have happened, and we insist on a thorough investigation and prosecution of the gunman," he said. "This is a profound loss for RFE/RL and Radio Free Iraq, and our deepest sympathies are with Al-Shammari's family and the colleagues he leaves behind."
RFI reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki went to the scene of the murder and promised members of Al-Shammari's family that the gunman would be brought be justice.
Al-Shammari, 46, was known on the air as Hasan Rashid. He joined RFI in 2006 and was appointed as Baghdad bureau chief in 2012. A journalist since 1993, Al-Shammari served on the editorial boards of several local media institutions, and was an associate professor of journalism at Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Al-Shammari is survived by his wife and three children.
Al-Shammari is the third RFI journalist to be killed since the Service began broadcasting in 1998. In April 2007, Khamail Muhsin Khalaf was kidnapped and shot dead in Baghdad; one month later, her colleague Nazar Abdulwahid Al-Radhi was shot dead in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Amarah.