MOSUL, Iraq, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Journalists in the Iraqi northern city of Mosul described 2013 as the worst year for their career as seven of their colleagues have been murdered by militant groups.
"I was doing interviews with people preparing for an upcoming religious holiday at an old marketplace in the central of the city when gunmen shot dead my colleagues Mohammed Ghanim and Mohammed Karim who work with me in al-Sharqiyah satellite channel," Ahmad al-Haiyali, who works now with Radio Sawa
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, told Xinhua.
"I was shocked and terrified, I was so close. I really thought I should leave the job, but couldn't because we should not give up to the killers. Instead, a few hours later I went to the channel office and interviewed my colleagues about the incident and they were all shocked," Haiyali said.
"About a month later we had another journalist killed
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, as well as female presenter Nawras al-Nuaimi," he said.
Most of journalists in Mosul have left the city to other provinces or even to the neighboring countries. Those who remain in the city have to take their own precautions.
"I usually avoid leaving my house as possible as I can and if I have any doubt that I could be targeted by the gunmen, I leave to nearby cities where nobody knows me to do some writings or even cover some regular news by telephone," he said.
Not only the gunmen threat the journalists in Iraq, but also security forces who sometimes do not allow journalists to cover politically sensitive topics.
"I can't forget what happened to me two years ago when I was covering anti-government demonstrations in Mosul. About nine troops beat me hard and dragged me inside a government building just because I was shooting them beating protesters
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," he said. "I yelled that I am a journalist but in vain."
Ibrahim al-Sarraji, head of Iraqi association to defend journalists' rights, told Xinhua that gunmen attacks against journalists have relation with the deteriorated security situation in Mosul.
"The association noticed that during the last three months of 2013 a total of five journalists have been killed and one wounded, and we have registered that most of the journalists in the city have received threats from unknown parties through their mobile phones or their emails," Sarraji said.
Sarraji's watchdog also registered that all the attacks against the journalists in Iraq went in apparent impunity
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, in a similar way to that crimes that occurred against the journalists since 2003.
"Such crimes with impunity deepen the concerns of the association from the reckless and incompetent investigation by the security forces in which always the culprits remain unknown," he said.
Falah al-Hassani, a local journalists who survived an assassination attempt told Xinhua about his experience, saying that two years ago, he was sitting around noon in his car in eastern Mosul waiting for his relative
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, when suddenly a "car parked beside me and someone opened fire on me with his pistol."