Journalist’s Funeral Attacked
BAGHDAD — In an ominous sign reminiscent of the atrocities committed in the Balkan Wars, the funeral of “Atwar Bahjat, an al-Arabiya journalist killed Wednesday”:http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1655859, is under attack right now in a western suburb of Baghdad.
As I watched the coverage this morning, a correspondent traveling with the funeral party called into al-Arabiya, saying the funeral procession was under attack by gunmen in the neighborhood of al-Haswah, a Sunni area. The sound of gunshots could clearly be heard around the correspondent and there was a note of panic in his voice. Four people have been injured and one killed, so far.
The funeral procession was a mixed Sunni and Shi’a affair, because Bahiat, a stylish 26-year-old female correspondent for al-Arabiya who was killed Wednesday in Samarra as she was covering the bombing there, came from a mixed family. The funeral procession had police cars on either end of it, and this may have caused the inhabitants of al-Haswah to believe the procession was led by Shi’as coming to attack them with government support.
Tensions here are so high that any no one should think of moving between neighborhoods, or within a mixed neighborhood. The Americans have been almost invisible, except for an air presence. Apaches and Blackhawks buzz the city, snarling by overhead as their pilots watch the city’s militants entrench themselves for a battle that, from the ground, seems inevitable.