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Second television presenter killed in as many days in Iraq

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • 2 killed, 6 wounded in double bombing in northern Iraq
  • New security measures come into force as holy month of Ramadan nears its end
  • At least four bombs explode in Iraq's capital, killing 3 and wounding 27
  • The violence comes a day after an Iraqi soldier fired on U.S. troops, killing 2 and wounding 9
  • Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- A second television presenter was killed in as many days in Iraq, police said Wednesday.

Police in the northern city of Mosul tell CNN that Safaa al-Deen Abdul Hamid was shot dead outside his home as he was leaving for work.

About 8:30 a.m., two assailants got out of the back of a car with a driver and opened fire on Abdul Hamid, who was outside his house, police said. Abdul Hamid anchored a religious television show on the provincial channel al-Mosuliya.

The attack came a day after Riyad al-Saray, an anchor and reporter for al-Iraqiya state television, was gunned down outside his home in western Baghdad.

The attacks provoked outrage from Reporters Without Borders. "The Iraqi authorities must do everything possible to identify the perpetrators and instigators of these killings and bring them to justice," the organization said in a statement. "An exemplary trial is needed in at least one case of a murdered journalist in order to deter the gunmen from continuing to kill and spread terror throughout the country. The government needs to rise to the major challenge of guaranteeing the safety of its citizens, including journalists, who have been particularly exposed to the violence that has raged in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003."

Abdul Hamid was a father of six and had worked less than a year at the television station, his producer, Mohamed al-Malaki, told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Abdul Hamid's program "Our Mosques," detailed the history of historic religious sites in Mosul, al-Malaki said.

Al-Saray also hosted programming that discussed religion.

Al-Malaki said he was unaware of any threats against Abdel Hamid.

Also Wednesday, at least two Iraqis were killed and six others were wounded in a double bombing in northern Iraq, Kirkuk police said.

A roadside bomb detonated southwest of Kirkuk in the morning, wounding two policemen. A second bomb exploded after the Iraqi army and police responded to the attack. Two policemen were killed and four Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the second bombing.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni extremist groups, posted a warning on a website they frequently use. The message warned Sunnis in Iraq to avoid being near government buildings because, the group said, it will continue targeting them.

The attack represents a continuation of an intensified campaign that the Islamic State of Iraq started in August 2009, when it began high-profile attacks on ministries and other government installations, claiming hundreds of lives.

In Baghdad, early morning bombings Wednesday killed at least three people and wounded another 27, an Interior Ministry official said.

The deadliest attack occurred in southwestern Baghdad's al-Bayaa neighborhood, where a bomb in a parked car and a roadside bomb targeting civilians detonated in quick succession, killing at least two people and wounding 20 others, the official told CNN.

A double roadside bomb attack in central Baghdad killed at least one person and wounded five others, and a roadside bomb in western Baghdad's al-Adel neighborhood wounded at least two civilians.

In a sign that authorities are tightening security before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends this week, Baghdad announced Wednesday it was banning motorcycles in the Iraqi capital, state TV announced.

Wednesday's attacks come a day after two American soldiers and at least six Iraqis were killed in shootings and bombings.

On Tuesday, 10 U.S. soldiers were wounded in two separate incidents in Salaheddin province.

The deadliest attack was carried out by an Iraqi army soldier who opened fire on U.S. troops on an Iraqi base, killing two Americans and wounding nine, U.S. and Iraqi military officials said.

They were the first Americans killed in Iraq since the U.S. officially announced an end to its combat mission there last week.

While overall violence in Iraq has dropped drastically over the past two years, there has been a noticeable uptick in attacks in recent weeks. There have been concerns that insurgents would take advantage of the political vacuum in the country to try to reignite the sectarian bloodshed that gripped Iraq for years.

In a news conference Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a U.S. military spokesman, told reporters that al Qaeda was stepping into this void.

"We have said all along that al Qaeda remains a determined foe and the terrorists are determined in fact to make a statement and to try to affect what is going on ... during this period of government formation," Buchanan said.

Less than two weeks ago, the Iraqi government said that its intelligence on al Qaeda and other groups revealed plots to carry out attacks across the country, and it called on security forces and citizens to be on high alert.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Baghdad contributed to this report.