2 CNN staff killed in Iraq

Mohammed, Khatab died of multiple gunshot wounds

NEW YORK — CNN translator-producer Duraid Isa Mohammed and a driver for the cable news net, Yasser Khatab, were killed Tuesday in an ambush south of Baghdad.

The other car in the convoy also came under fire, with CNN cameraman Scott McWhinnie grazed in the head by a bullet. McWhinnie was reported safe and was being treated for his wounds. His vehicle was able to escape after a security guard hired by CNN returned fire on the attackers.

Police later found the second car.

Mohammed and Khatab “died of multiple gunshot wounds,” CNN prexy Jim Walton said in a note to staff.

“Duraid and Yasser, and about 20 other members of the media, have sacrificed their lives in order to bring the world news from Iraq. We are indebted to them and offer our sincerest condolences to their families,” Walton said.

All the news networks have instituted heavy security measures for their crews in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

The two-car CNN convoy was traveling near a Baghdad suburb when a small Opel came up from behind and opened fire.

“This is very, very disturbing,” CNN Intl. managing director Chris Cramer said. “This was a premeditated terrorist attack.”

CNN correspondent Michael Holmes, who was in the car with McWhinnie, told the AP the attackers were “clearly trying to take us out” and that the only reason the vehicle was able to get away was because of the security guard.

There was nothing identifying the cars as press.

“The safety of our employees is of paramount concern to us, and a tragedy like this affects us all in the CNN family,” Walton said.

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