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TV commentator killed in Iraq

Jaafar Ali, who presents a sports program, was gunned down as he left his home in the Shora Rabia district.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 20:16 IST

A sports commentator for state-owned Iraqi television was shot dead on Wednesday in Baghdad, becoming the third journalist to die in the capital this week, a defence ministry official said.

"Jaafar Ali, who presents a sports program, was gunned down... as he left his home in the Shora Rabia district of southern Baghdad," the source said.

On Monday, Britons Paul Douglas and James Brolan, working for the US television network CBS and embedded with American troops, were killed when a suicide car bomber rammed their convoy.

A US army captain and an Iraqi interpreter were also killed in the attack, which seriously wounded CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier, a dual US-British national, and six other US soldiers.

At least 93 media professionals, mostly Iraqis, have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the country in March 2003, according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

There was no immediate indication as to why Ali was murdered, though sports-related figures have been targeted recently.

Last Thursday, gunmen in Baghdad killed the coach of the Iraqi national tennis team and two players, reportedly for wearing Western-style tennis shorts.

Week before last, 15 members of the Iraqi Taekwondo team were kidnapped between Fallujah and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, as they returned from a tournament in neighbouring Jordan.

Their abductors have since demanded 100,000 dollars in ransom, the Olympic Committee said.

And in February, a former Iraqi wrestling champion was gunned down in front of his family in the southern port city of Basra.