CBS News Crew Caught in Wave of Bombings
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Meantime, there was violence today in two theaters involving American troops. In Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, there were riots and chants of death to America after a fatal traffic accident involving a U.S. convoy and some civilian vehicles.
In Iraq, a new wave of violence claimed more than 50 lives. Two CBS journalists, a U.S. soldier and a contractor were among those killed when a convoy from the 4th Infantry Division was attacked, and CBS Baghdad correspondent Kimberly Dozier is reported in critical condition.
We begin this hour with Iraq and NPR's Peter Kenyon, in Baghdad.
PETER KENYON reporting:
British cameraman Paul Douglas was a veteran of the world's hellish places. The 48-year-old had captured scenes for CBS in Bosnia, Rwanda, Pakistan, Afghanistan and then Iraq. His colleague, fellow Briton James Brolin, had gathered sound as a freelancer for CBS in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Today they were squeezed into a Humvee with their American correspondent, Kimberly Dozier, on a Memorial Day patrol with the 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad. The embed was only supposed to last a few hours. The convoy stopped at a traffic circle near a bridge crossing the Tigris River. Dozier, Douglas and Brolin jumped out of the armored vehicle. CBS said it believes the trio was wearing its protective gear.
The U.S. military said the explosion that engulfed the convoy came from a car bomb. Douglas and Brolin were killed, along with one soldier and an Iraqi contractor. Dozier and six wounded soldiers were rushed to a U.S. military hospital, where CBS says Dozier underwent emergency surgery. The network said the 39-year-old was in critical condition, but doctors were cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.
Dozier's also no stranger to combat situations. Besides Iraq, she's reported from Kosovo, Afghanistan and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this clip from the CBS News web site, Dozier reported last month on the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq:
Ms. KIMBERLY DOZIER (Correspondent, CBS News): Well after three years here, we've all almost become immune to a lot of the violence. It's as if sometimes we're reciting numbers instead of talking about actual people who've been killed.
KENYON: CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus called today's incident a devastating loss. The network said Paul Douglas leaves a wife, two daughters and three grandchildren. James Brolin was married, with two children.
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KENYON: For Iraqis, it was another day of random brutality and terror. In the aftermath of this attack in central Baghdad, U.S. military helicopters circled overhead, dropping flares near the spot where Iraqi officials said a suicide car bomber had killed three Iraqi civilians and wounded five.
In the northern part of the city, the bodies piled up faster than rescue crews could deal with them. A dozen students torn apart by a car bomb intended for an Iraqi patrol. A professor at Mustan Sarea(ph) University gunned down on the street. A pair of car bombs featured explosives packed into the type of minibus that is seen everywhere in Baghdad.
North of the capital, a mid-size bus full of laborers was hit by a car bomb in the small town of Hollis(ph), not far from Bakuba. Southeast of the capital 12 more bodies, all executed, all wearing Iraqi police uniforms. At the Baghdad morgue, officials reported 65 bodies delivered in the past 24 hours, each one shot in the head. They weren't included in the day's death toll because it wasn't clear when they'd been killed.
U.S. officials are hoping Iraq's new government will begin to reign in the violence. Inside the fortified green zone this week, Iraqi lawmakers have bickered about critical security ministries that still lack permanent ministers. But they agree on one thing, the need for armored cars.
Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Baghdad.