Japanese reporters feared dead
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Japanese journalists were attacked by gunmen while traveling south of Baghdad late Thursday and are feared dead, according to an official at the Japanese Embassy in Baghdad.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry identified the journalists as Kotaro Ogawa and Shinsuke Hashida.
Sometime after the attack, two severely burned bodies were taken to a hospital in Mahmudiyah.
While hospital officials identified the two bodies as those of the Japanese journalists, Japanese officials who visited the hospital were unable to make a positive identification of the deceased due to the extreme condition of the bodies, the foreign ministry said.
Hospital officials told the embassy officials that both bodies were brought in with an Iraqi, wounded in the same attack, who claimed to be a translator for the journalists.
The translator was admitted to the hospital with injuries but was discharged earlier in the day.
Embassy officials have not been able to contact the translator.
Hospital officials also told the embassy officials that several Japanese documents were found near the bodies.
The incident happened while the journalists were traveling from Samawah to Baghdad in the Mahmudiyah district of Iraq about 35 miles (56 km) south of Baghdad, according to an employee from NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
CNN Correspondent Atika Shubert in Tokyo contributed to this report