Two Iraqi journalists killed in village south of Mosul
Two Iraqi television journalists were killed by the Islamic State group while a third was trapped on Friday in the same village south of Mosul.
IS infiltrated Imam Gharbi this week, seizing territory in the village and kidnapping civilians, prompting Iraqi forces to counterattack to try to oust the jihadists, officers said.
The attack by IS highlights what is likely to be a growing danger as the group loses more ground and increasingly returns to bombings and hit-and-run attacks that were its hallmark in past years.
"Colleague Harb Hazaa al-Dulaimi, correspondent for the Hona Salaheddin channel, and Sudad al-Duri, the cameraman for the same station, were martyred" in Imam Gharbi, the channel said.
Hona Salaheddin said that Mustafa Wahadi, another of its correspondents, was trapped in the village with the bodies of the two journalists who were killed.
Wahadi posted on his Facebook page calling for security forces to rescue them, saying that none had arrived in the area so far.
"The situation around me is very dangerous" and "Daesh is very close," he wrote, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
"This may be my last post, maybe I will be killed," the journalist wrote.
Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan confirmed two journalists were killed in the village and said that others were trapped in a house there along with police.
He said security forces were closing in but were slowed by IS snipers.
The deaths come after three journalists were killed and a fourth wounded by an explosion last month in Mosul, where they were covering the battle to retake the city from IS.
"Iraq is among the top three most deadly countries for the fourth year in a row," the Committee to Protect Journalists said of 2016.
And Reporters Without Borders, another media rights watchdog, termed it "one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists".