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U.S. gunfire kills two Reuters employees in Baghdad
"Holy [expletive]," Kauzlarich said.
It was the morning's third version of war.
One minute and fifty-five seconds before the first burst, the two crew members in one of the circling Apaches had noticed some men on a street on Al-Amin's eastern edge.
"See all those people standing down there?" one asked.
"Confirmed," said the other crew member. "That open courtyard?"
"Roger," said the first.
Everything the crew members in both Apaches were saying was being recorded. So were their communications with the 2-16. To avoid confusion, anyone talking identified himself with a code word. The crew members in the lead Apache, for example, were Crazy Horse 1-8. The 2-16 person they were communicating with most frequently was Hotel 2-6.
There was a visual recording of what they were seeing as well, and what they were seeing now--one minute and forty seconds before they fired their first burst--were some men walking along the middle of a street, several of whom appeared to be carrying weapons.
All morning long, this part of Al-Amin had been the most hostile. While Tyler Andersen had been under a shade tree in west Al-Amin, and Kauzlarich had dealt with occasional gunfire in the center part, east Al-Amin had been filled with gunfire and some explosions. There had been reports of sniper fire, rooftop chases, and rocket-propelled grenades being fired at Bravo Company, and as the fighting continued, it attracted the attention of Namir Noor-Eldeen, a twenty-two-year-old photographer for the Reuters news agency who lived in Baghdad, and Saeed Chmagh, forty, his driver and assistant.
Some journalists covering the war did so by embedding with the U.S. military. Others worked in de pen dently. Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh were among those who worked in de pen dently, which meant that the military didn't know they were in Al-Amin. The 2-16 didn't know, and neither did the crews of the Apaches, which were fl ying high above Al-Amin in a slow, counter-clockwise circle. From that height, the crews could see all of east Al-Amin, but the optics in the lead Apache were now focused tightly on Noor-Eldeen, who had a camera strung over his right shoulder and was centered in the crosshairs of the Apache's thirty-millimeter automatic cannon.
"Oh yeah," one of the crew members said to the other as he looked at the hanging camera. "That's a weapon."
"Hotel Two-six, this is Crazy Horse One-eight," the other crew member radioed in to the 2-16. "Have individuals with weapons."