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Radio Free Iraq Journalist Killed in Baghdad

Iraqi journalists light candles where, according to police, a Kurdish officer of the Iraqi president's guard shot dead the bureau chief of a local radio station in Baghdad, March 22, 2014.
The Baghdad bureau chief for RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq has been shot and killed at a checkpoint near his home in the Iraqi capital.

Witnesses say Mohammed Bdaiwi Owaid al-Shammari was shot dead early Saturday by an Iraqi presidential guard at the compound's gate after the two argued over whose vehicle should pass through the checkpoint first.

The guard fled the scene after the shooting but was later handed over to authorities.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met briefly with the journalist's family and promised them swift action.

The 46-year-old al-Shammari, known on the air as Hasan Rashid, was a longtime journalist who began working for Radio Free Iraq in 2006, becoming its Baghdad bureau chief in 2012.

RFE/RL is a network within the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or BBG, the independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. government-supported civilian international media, including Voice of America.

BBG chairman Jeff Shell described al-Shammari as a "committed journalist" who worked to ensure that the people of Iraq received reliable, unbiased news.

He is the third Radio Free Iraq journalist to be killed since it began broadcasting in 1998. He is survived by his wife and three children.