Guerrillas force journalists to face mock execution

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The Independent Online

It has never exactly been safe, but for journalists, the Iraq experience is becoming more terrifying.

It has never exactly been safe, but for journalists, the Iraq experience is becoming more terrifying.

The correspondent of Le Monde, Rémy Ourdan, and Paolo Woods, a photographer with Dutch and Canadian citizenship, were stopped by Iraqi insurgents on Monday as they drove towards Fallujah.

"Dirty Americans, we will kill you," shouted the rebels, armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades, as the journalists were thrown to the ground and their satellite phones and cameras were stolen.

"The over-excited fighters were waiting for the order to shoot. In their eyes, you could see that the next fraction of a second would produce boundless joy," Remy Ourdan wrote in Le Monde. They were eventually freed and their equipment returned. Their captors escorted them to a road to Baghdad and one said: "My friends, we are sorry about this, we did not want to hurt you. We only want to kill Americans."

A day later Stephen Farrell of The Times and Orly Halperin, an American freelance reporter, were held for hours near Fallujah because the mujahedin captors kept telling Farrell he was CIA, an American spy. Halpern was told: "You are woman. We won't kill you. But he's finished."

Farrell insisted he was a journalist and convinced them to release him so he could report the truth of what was happening.

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