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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 10:24 GMT
Iraq car bomb kills Australian
Paul Moran, on assignment for ABC
Paul Moran was working for Australian Broadcasting Corporation
A car bomb blast - believed to be a suicide attack - has killed an Australian journalist in Kurdish-held northern Iraq.

Paul Moran, 39, a cameraman originally from Adelaide, died when a taxi exploded next to him after he had just finished filming near the village of Khurmal.

Reports say one other person was killed, but no details were available.

Kurdish officials blamed the attack on a militant group, Ansar al-Islam, which controls the area.

The group, which has been accused of links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, has been targeted by US war planes and a ground assault is also said to be planned against it.

A fellow Australian journalist, Eric Campbell, suffered minor shrapnel wounds in the blast. Both men were on assignment for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Eight or nine bystanders are thought to have been injured.

'Taxi screamed up'

Mr Campbell told ABC television that Moran "was getting one last shot of some peshmergas [Kurdish militia] who were running towards the base, and he walked about 50 metres in front of me to get this shot, and a taxi just screamed up beside him and exploded and we were thrown back, and Paul was dead".

The checkpoint at  Khormal on the road to Halabja where the bombing happened
The bombing happened at Khormal on the road to Halabja
Mr Moran is survived by his wife and baby daughter.

The area had been in a state of confusion as Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) forces attempted to take control of an Ansar al-Islam camp.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said there was little doubt that the car bombing was in retaliation for the US bombardment of the area.





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