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2 CNN employees killed in attack

Duraid Isa Mohammed
Duraid Isa Mohammed

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two CNN employees were killed, and a third was lightly wounded Tuesday afternoon when the cars they were traveling in came under fire.

The employees were returning to Baghdad in a two-car convoy from an assignment in the southern city of Hillah, when they were ambushed on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Translator and producer Duraid Isa Mohammed, 27, and driver Yasser Khatab, 25, died from multiple gunshot wounds. Cameraman Scott McWhinnie, traveling in another vehicle, was grazed in the head by a bullet.

The CNN vehicles were headed north toward Baghdad when a rust-colored Opel approached from behind. A single gunman with an AK-47, standing through the sunroof, opened fire on one of the vehicles.

That lead CNN vehicle, hit at least five times, managed to escape from the gunman as the CNN security adviser returned fire.

"There is no doubt in my mind, that if our security adviser had not returned fire, everyone in our vehicle would have been killed," said Correspondent Michael Holmes. "This was not an attempted robbery, they were clearly trying to take us out."

Yasser Khatab
Yasser Khatab

Holmes, producer Shirley Hung, a security adviser and a second driver were traveling with McWhinnie and were not hurt.

The Opel spun around on the median as the second CNN car, with Mohammed and Khatab inside, drove off the highway, according to CNN crewmembers.

The CNN crew in McWhinnie's vehicle drove to an Iraqi police station and asked officers to go back to the scene to help Mohammed and Khatab.

The crew then drove to a forward operations base of the U.S. 82nd Airborne, where McWhinnie was treated, and the U.S. military sent a team to find the missing CNN employees.

Iraqi police found the car with the bodies of Mohammed and Khatab.

Khatab and Mohammed both joined CNN a year ago.


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