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Australian cameraman killed

The U.S. Army repeated a warning to non-embedded journalists not to enter Iraq from Kuwait.
The U.S. Army repeated a warning to non-embedded journalists not to enter Iraq from Kuwait.

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SAYED SADIQ, Northern Iraq (CNN) -- An Australian cameraman was killed Saturday in a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint in Sayed Sadiq in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

Freelance cameraman Paul Moran, 39, died instantly from the blast in the mountainous region near the Iranian border, the first death among members of the news media working in Iraq since war broke out.

At least four others were killed in the blast, the Associated Press reports. Eight , including Australian Broadcasting Corp. correspondent Eric Campbell, were injured.

Moran was also working for the ABC.

His death is the first reported casualty among members of the news media working in Iraq since war broke out.

Separately, there are fears for the safety of three British ITN journalists who were reported as missing on Saturday near Basra in the south of the country. (British crew missing)

The U.S. Army has also said it has received reports of at least four incidents involving members of the news media who came under Iraqi fire after sneaking across the border from Kuwait.

The incidents appear to have resulted in at least three serious injuries or deaths, a U.S. Army spokesman said. (Fears for journalists)

Moran was the last of a string of journalists traveling through the checkpoint which had been taken by Kurdish opposition fighters from terrorists 24 hours earlier.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minster Alexander Downer said Moran was killed in a revenge attack for the bombing of the headquarters of a militant Islamic group with links to the al Qaeda terror organization.

"We understand that the suicide bomber came from an Islamic extremist terrorist organization called Ansar al-Islam, which is active in northern Iraq and has been for some time," Downer said.

"This is an organization which is linked very closely to al Qaeda, so our expectation is that they are the people who are responsible for this suicide-bombing attack."

Security officials of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said they also believed the Ansar al-Islam group was responsible.

Campbell told ABC Radio Moran was filming final shots for a story when a taxi pulled up alongside him and exploded.

"He knew this area backwards," Campbell said. "He'd been here many times before, had very good contacts. He was just a great resource for being here and for working around the clock in this coverage we were doing."

Campbell said they had taken all the precautions they could to protect themselves in Iraq.

"Both Paul and I have newborn babies, and we sort of decided when we came across the border we'd be as careful as we could and we were," he said.

"We always wore flak jackets and were checking where everyone else had been and where was safe, and we just thought we were OK, and just out of the blue this awful thing happened."

Moran is survived by his wife and baby daughter.


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