Reporters on the Job

Saved by the Barrier: Correspondent Sam Dagher was rattled, but escaped serious injury Wednesday when a truck bomb exploded near the Iraqi police station in Sadr City, a poor section of Baghdad.

"The police station is located on the edge of Sadr City, near Canal Street. Someone parked a pickup truck loaded with explosives about 80 meters [262 feet] from the station. It wasn't a suicide bombing, so I presume it was detonated remotely. It went off at about 12:30 p.m."

Sam was on the second floor of the station and was scratched by flying glass. A US Marine sleeping in a nearby cot was also struck by the glass. No one was killed but an Iraqi cook and policemen on the first floor were wounded.

"The Alaska barriers – the 10-foot-high concrete walls – really did their job. Four sections of the blast wall were shattered. I'm fine, just a little rattled," he says. He later filed today's story about the US strategy in Sadr City, according to US Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of the coalition forces in Iraq (see story).

Still Held Hostage: The Committee to Protect Journalists issued an open letter Monday urging the release of abducted Afghan journalist Ajmal Nakshbandi, who has been held captive by the Taliban since March 4. Mr. Nakshbandi was serving as the interpreter for La Repubblica reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo. The Italian journalist was released on March 19, apparently in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders. Nakshbandi remains captive, apparently held by the Taliban. His case has all but disappeared from Western media. The letter seeking his release is signed by more than 80 prominent journalists from an array of local and international news organizations, including USA Today, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, The New York Times, and Al Jazeera.

David Clark Scott
World Editor

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