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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Al-Jazeera 'hit by missile'
Tarek Ayoub
Tarek Ayoub was reported killed
A US missile has hit the Baghdad offices of Arab news service al-Jazeera television, killing one member of staff and wounding another, the station reported on Tuesday.

Al-Jazeera's Baghdad correspondent Maher Abdullah said the missile strike destroyed an electricity generator and set fire to the office.

But a US Central Command spokesman told BBC News Online the station "was not and never had been a target", although US military officials were looking into the incident.

The Qatar-based network - dubbed the 'Arab CNN' - has come under intense criticism in London, Washington and Baghdad with its no-holds-barred coverage of the war in Iraq.

But it remains the news source of choice in 35 million Arab-speaking homes around the world.

Al-Jazeera colleagues carry a casualty to a nearby car

Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office is near the Iraqi Information Ministry but its correspondents are thought to conduct their live reports from a location near the Palestine Hotel, where many journalists are staying.

"We were caught by surprise," Abdullah said. "One missile hit the pavement in front of us, ripping out windows and doors and then one hit the generator."

News announcers named the dead man as Tarek Ayoub, and the injured man as Zohair al-Iraqi.

Rival satellite station Abu Dhabi TV announced its Baghdad bureau had also been hit and broadcast a live report showing its camera position under attack.

Footage from Abu Dhabi TV also showed a fire blazing in the al-Jazeera office.

Al-Jazeera TV crew were seen carrying a wounded colleague into an Abu Dhabi TV car.

Al-Jazeera's office was one of the first targets hit in Kabul when US-backed Northern Alliance fighters routed the Taleban in the Afghan capital.

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