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The Death of an Iraqi Journalist

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Read this account of the depraved torture and beheading of female Iraqi television journalist Atwar Bahjat, and then ask why the entire Islamic world does not rise up to condemn the monsters in their midst: Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing.

Bahjat was abducted after making three live broadcasts from the edge of her native city of Samarra on the day its golden-domed Shi’ite mosque was blown up, allegedly by Sunni terrorists. Roadblocks prevented her from entering the city and her anxiety was obvious to everyone who saw her final report. Night was falling and tensions were high.

Two men drove up in a pick-up truck, asking for her. She appealed to a small crowd that had gathered around her crew but nobody was willing to help her. It was reported at the time that she had been shot dead with her cameraman and sound man.

We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.

Then her arms were bound behind her back. A golden locket in the shape of Iraq that became her glittering trademark in front of the television cameras must have been removed at some point — it is nowhere to be seen in the grainy film, which was made by someone who pointed a mobile phone at her as she lay on a patch of earth in mortal terror.

By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage. It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear. …

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat.

Before her death, these “holy warriors” tortured her with an electric drill.

UPDATE at 5/7/06 9:28:08 am:

Mudville Gazette reacts to this horror.

UPDATE at 5/10/06 10:23:05 am:

Atwar Bahjat Beheading Video a Hoax.

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