Eight Killed in Attack on New Satellite TV Station

Gunmen dressed as police stormed the offices of the Shaabiya channel in Zayouna in the east of Baghdad killing eight workers. The channel has so far only broadcast test images and patriotic music, and is said to be aimed at a Sunni Muslim audience. Sunni-Shia violence dominates much of the current unrest in Iraq.

The attack comes on the same day a peer-reviewed report by medical journal The Lancet is published suggesting the Iraqi death toll since the 2003 invasion could be as high as 650,000

From the BBC:

Sunni-Shia violence has forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee homes.

According to Iraqi police reports, the gunmen were wearing police uniforms and drove up in a convoy of what appeared to be police vehicles.

They shot dead guards outside the building, then entered and killed more people inside, using silenced pistols.

Hassan Kamil, executive manager of Shaabiya, told Reuters news agency one employee survived the attack but was seriously injured.

One of those killed was the office manager, the manager's brother confirmed to the BBC in Baghdad.

The channel is still said to be transmitting test broadcasts of patriotic music and video.

More than 100 foreign and local media workers have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, the Reporters Without Borders watchdog says.

Many Iraqi media outlets are funded by groups with religious and political affiliations, making them targets for sectarian attacks.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says Shia militias have frequently been accused of using fake police uniforms and vehicles to carry out abductions and murders, though some units of the police have also come under suspicion.

All national police units are being retrained. They are being given new uniforms with a computer-generated design that the authorities hope will be impossible to copy.

The violence is continuing despite a major crackdown by US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad.

On Thursday, five people died and 11 were injured in co-ordinated car bombings in Baghdad.

One bomb exploded in central Baghdad's Bab al-Sharji district and another went off shortly afterwards as police and rescue services arrived.

 

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