Al-Timimi suffers heart attack after drive-by

BAGHDAD — The chief of the Iraq journalists union, Shihab al-Timimi, died of a heart attack Feb. 27 just days after being wounded in a drive-by shooting, a union official said.

The 75-year-old journalist was rushed to Ibn Al-Bitar hospital in central Baghdad with a bullet wound to his chest after the Feb. 23 attack on his car.

Timimi, who had headed the journalists union since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, had been driving to union headquarters at the time of the shooting. His 23-year-old son, Rabea, was also wounded.

Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders said it was “deeply saddened” by Tamimi’s death.

“The Iraqi press has once again paid dearly for its commitment to more freedom,” the press freedom org said. “Shihab al-Tamimi is the 210th media worker to be killed since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. We condemn the attack on Tamimi with the utmost firmness, we extend our condolences to his family, and we remind the Iraqi government that these murders should not be left unpunished.”

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory said Tamimi was attacked soon after he left a meeting in a cultural center near the Turkish embassy.

At least 156 journalists and 54 media assistants have been killed since March 2003. Nothing is known of what happened to 15 other Iraqi journalists who were kidnapped.

The whereabouts of a British journalist kidnapped in Iraq’s southern city of Basra on Feb. 10 is still unknown as well.

The journalist and his Iraqi interpreter, on assignment for U.S. network CBS, were abducted by a gang of 10 gunmen from their hotel. The interpreter was released a few days later.

The Mehdi Army Shiite militia negotiating the release of the Briton said it had been delayed by “technical problems.”

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