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Reuters families demand US troops be tried over shooting

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BAGHDAD (AFP) – The families of two Reuters news agency employees killed in a 2007 US helicopter attack in Baghdad on Thursday demanded justice, telling AFP the Americans responsible should stand trial.

Graphic video footage of the shooting, which left several other people dead and wounded two children, was published on the Internet by WikiLeaks, a website that discloses information obtained from whistleblowers.

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“The truth came out and the whole world saw. The American pilot should be judged by international justice and we want compensation because the act left orphans,” said Safa Chmagh, whose brother Saeed Chmagh, a Reuters driver, died.

“He (the pilot) killed unarmed innocent people, among them a photographer whose camera was very visible. On top of that when they evacuated the wounded they opened fire again,” said Safa, whose brother was 44 when killed.

Nameer Nooraddin Hussein, a 22-year-old photographer with Reuters, was also shot to death. The families said they have until now received no compensation for the incident which took place on July 12, 2007.

The video included audio conversations between Apache helicopter pilots and controllers where the US military identified the men in a Baghdad street in broad daylight as armed insurgents and asked for permission to open fire.

The footage showed the Reuters men and other Iraqis gunned down in the Ameen district of Baghdad in a hail of cannon fire from an Apache’s gunner.

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Saeed Chmagh’s grieving son Salwan, 20, was deeply disturbed by the footage which was aired on Arab television channels and seen by more than four million people on the Internet.

“I want the American pilot who killed my father to be judged,” he exclaimed, while close to tears in the Chmagh family’s Baghdad home.

“Why did he do that? Were the victims not innocent? Were they not human beings? We want our father,” he said.

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Samer Chmagh, the murdered Reuters driver’s second son, said he did not understand why the US helicopter had opened fire.

“They were not members of a militia. Everybody saw from the pictures that they were journalists,” he said.

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The father of Reuters photographer Hussein, speaking to AFP from the northern city of Mosul, also demanded justice and called for a tribunal in The Hague.

“The innocents were killed in cold blood,” said Nooraddin Hussein, 63.

“I was very sad when I saw the images but today at least the American people will know the troops of their army were pleased to kill people.”

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The White House on Tuesday described the leaked footage as “tragic” but President Barack Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs said US forces in war zones take pains to avoid civilian casualties.

The Pentagon has not disputed that the video is authentic.


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2020 Election

Trump ‘abruptly’ storms out of 60 Minutes interview and refuses to return: report

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President Donald Trump was said to have "abruptly" ended an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl at the White House.

According to CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, the "drama" occurred on Tuesday afternoon.

"Apparently there was some drama while President Trump was taping his 60 Minutes interview today," Collins wrote on Twitter. "He abruptly ended his solo interview after around 45 minutes & did not return for a scheduled walk & talk he was supposed to tape with Pence, @abdallahcnn and I are told by sources."

Apparently there was some drama while President Trump was taping his 60 Minutes interview today. He abruptly ended his solo interview after around 45 minutes & did not return for a scheduled walk & talk he was supposed to tape with Pence, @abdallahcnn and I are told by sources.

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Peru unveils giant cat etching at famous Nazca site

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A giant 2,000-year-old figure of a feline that was on the brink of disappearing will be the new cat's meow when Peru's remarkable Nazca Lines attraction reopens to tourists in November.

The geoglyph is around 120 feet (37 meters) long and was recently discovered by a drone on a hillside, the culture ministry said.

"The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear due to the effects of natural erosion as it's on a fairly steep slope," said the ministry.

A group of archeologists took on the job of cleaning and preserving the geoglyph, which shows a cat with its body in profile but its head front on.

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Trump mask-shames CBS reporter Lesley Stahl — and ominously warns ‘much more to come’

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President Donald Trump has spent months belittling people for wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His anti-mask attitude reportedly resulted in White House and campaign staff not wearing masks so as to avoid angering their boss.

And Trump has repeatedly attacked Joe Biden for wearing facial coverings -- even after the president was hospitalized for COVID-19.

But on Tuesday, Trump dramatically shifted his position and mask-shamed CBS "60 Minutes" reporter Lesley Stahl, posting video of her not wearing a mask while Trump was.

Trump included video of their interview in his tweet:

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