Stumbled across this entry over at TPRS which links to a news item about Arab television journalist Mazen Al-Tomaizi who was accidentally killed on live TV when a U.S. helicopter opened fire on a disabled Bradley fighting vehicle to destroy it so it wouldn’t be looted.
In the West Bank, residents of his home town Idna watched in horror as Mazen went down. He was killed when a US helicopter fired missiles on people who had gathered round a US tank that had been set ablaze in a car bomb attack.
Blood spattered across the cameraman’s lens and screams were heard by viewers of the Al-Arabiya report. Mazen was the fourth Palestinian journalist killed in Iraq.
Most of the young Iraqi men and boys mingling around the burning wreckage of the US tank were unfazed by the clattering of an American helicopter gunship overhead. Moments later they were under fire.
Some had pointed to the Apache helicopter. Others jogged slowly from the burning Bradley fighting vehicle. None expected it would shoot at them. “I didn’t imagine the helicopter would fire on the crowd,” Reuters cameraman Seif Fouad said from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from two shrapnel wounds. He had been recording the scene and was standing near Mazen.
“I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude,” Seif said. “Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache. Then a strong explosion,” he said.
The first explosion sent Seif crashing to the ground. “Mazen’s blood was on my camera and face,” Seif said. Mazen screamed to Seif for help: “Seif, Seif! I’m going to die. I’m going to die.”
A second blast hit some 15 seconds later, lodging shrapnel in Seif’s leg and waist as he was trying to pull Mazen from harm’s way. Seif’s camera, its lens stained with blood, filmed the chaos. Reuters footage showed the crowd to be made up of unarmed boys and men, two of whom were standing on top of the Bradley.
As TPRS points out, this is a helluva way to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. More competent decision making in action.