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US troops in Iraq arrest journalists of Iranian TV channel

US troops in Baghdad on Monday arrested three journalists who worked for the Arabic television channel Al-Aalam, broadcast by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a fax sent to IRNA, Al-Aalam identified the three as Sami Hassan, Zoheir Mostafa and Ghuran Tofiq, who were reporters and cameramen.

They were detained in front of the central police building in Baghdad, where they wanted to report about police work since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

US officials have not commented yet on the reasons for the arrests.

In April, American Marines arrested another reporter of Al-Aalam in Kut and released him after five hours of detention.

Abdol Hadi Zeighami was arrested while reporting on US tanks rolling into the eastern town of Kut, around 170 km southeast of Baghdad.

US Marines also confiscated the film which the Al-Aalam crew had shot of the war scene.

Apparently angered by the impartial coverage of developments in Iraq by a section of the media, US troops have targeted journalists in several cases.

In April, Reuters' cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Spanish Television (Telecino) reporter Jose Couso were killed after US tanks opened fire at Hotel Palestine in Baghdad.

Al-Jazeera television reporter/producer Tarek Ayoub was killed the same day during what the channel called a US air strike.

The attacks took place while US Marines knew that the hotel was being used as a temporary media center for international journalists covering the American-led invasion against Iraq.

Washington Post said last week that the Pentagon had found Al-Aalam problematic. The Arabic channel is said to have largely won the hearts and minds of Iraqis and has been one of the most popular source of news in Iraq since the US-led invasion.

... Payvand News - 6/10/03 ... --

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