INTERNATIONAL

Outrage over attack on Al-Jazeera office

Fatima Ayyoub, the 14-month-old daughter of the Al Jazeera correspondent, Tareq Ayyoub, is seen in front of a photograph of her father who died in a U.S. missile attack in Baghdad. — Reuters  

Reporters Without Borders expressed outrage at the U.S. bombing of the Baghdad office of the pan-Arab TV station Al-Jazeera that killed one of its journalists, cameraman Tarek Ayoub, and wounded another. The nearby premises of Abu Dhabi TV were also damaged.

``We strongly condemn this attack on a neighbourhood known to include the offices of several TV stations,'' said the secretary-general, Robert M�nard, in a letter to Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. military operations in Iraq.

``To ensure the safety of its journalists, Al-Jazeera's management has been careful to inform the Americans of the exact location of its crews right from the start of the war. The U.S. army cannot therefore claim it did not know where the Baghdad offices were. ``Did it at least warn the journalists about an imminent bombing? The outcome was predictable: yet another journalist was killed covering this very deadly war for the media,'' Mr. M�nard said.

He called on Gen. Franks to make a serious and thorough investigation of who was responsible for the attack and why it was carried out. An Al-Jazeera journalist who was in Baghdad until a few days ago told Reporters Without Borders that "it couldn't've been a mistake.

We've told the Pentagon where all our offices are in Iraq and hung giant banners outside them saying `TV.'''Ayoub, a Jordanian who was the station's permanent correspondent in Amman, was sent to strengthen the team in Iraq when the war broke out. He was seriously wounded in the attack and died soon afterwards.

The Al-Jazeera offices are in an apartment block between the Mansour Hotel and the ministry of planning, in a central Baghdad area of government offices. Another of the station's journalists, Zohair al-Iraqi, an Iraqi, received a neck wound in the attack.