DOHA Qatar – An Al-Jazeera journalist who previously worked for Fox News Channel was killed Tuesday in Baghdad, the Arabic-language channel reported.
The network claimed Tareq Ayoub was fatally wounded when U.S. bombers targeted and struck Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office Tuesday morning.
Ayoub, 35, was a Jordanian national. He was survived by his wife and 1-year-old daughter.
Ayoub was a long-time employee of Jordan Multimedia Productions, Fox News Channel's local agent in Amman, Jordan. He completed several tours of duty as a Fox News Channel producer in Iraq and Jordan starting in 1998 before joining Al-Jazeera in 1999.
Fox News' David Lee Miller, who worked with Ayoub and remembered him fondly, did not think the journalist would have blamed the United States for the attack that reportedly killed him.
"Being a professional, he would not have wanted to point a finger at any one group," Miller said. "He would have realized this is the type of risk you take in this kind of work."
When asked if he foresaw a backlash in response to Ayoub's death, Miller said, "I don't think we're going to see rage and resentment in this case. We’re going to see a lot of sadness."
Al-Jazeera described Ayoub as "martyr of duty" and a "dear and loyal colleague." Television images showed people carrying Ayoub to a jeep, then rushing him to the hospital.
Al-Jazeera reported a cameraman had also been injured, and showed footage of Zuhair al-Iraqi, whose chest was covered in blood. The network's Web site said he had shrapnel in his neck, and a colleague later said his injuries were not life-threatening. Technician Mohammed al-Salha, who was thought to be missing, was later located and was said to be fine.
The Abu Dhabi TV office in Baghdad also was targeted by U.S. bombing, the station reported. Officials at Abu Dhabi TV were not available for comment.
The Al-Jazeera office is in a two-story house on a road alongside the Tigris River that links the Information Ministry with the old palace presidential compound.
Al-Jazeera said the area is residential and isn't close to governmental or military installations. The station continued to broadcast live from the Palestine Hotel after the bombing.
Some Al-Jazeera employees felt the bombing might have been deliberate, for the station has been reporting extensively on the plight of Iraqi civilians and the number of casualties from U.S. bomb attacks.
Al-Jazeera correspondent Majed Abdul-Hadi said "astonishment, concern and fear" were gripping journalists after Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi offices were targeted.
"We are witnesses to what is happening. We are not a party," Abdul-Hadi said, speaking in the Iraqi capital. "The killing of colleague Tareq Ayoub and the bombardment of the Al-Jazeera office is to cover up the great crime which the Iraqi people are subjected to at the hands of the United States."
Chief editor Ibrahim Hilal, speaking from the station's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, said witnesses "saw the plane fly over twice before dropping the bombs. Our office is in a residential area and even the Pentagon knows its location."
He refused to comment on whether he thought the attack was intentional.
Ayoub, the slain journalist, was expelled from Jordan in August 2002 after Al-Jazeera broadcast a program that criticized the kingdom and the ruling family's stance toward Palestinians and Iraq. He was an economics correspondent at the time and did not appear to be involved in that report.
In its 2002 annual report, Reporters Without Borders complained that Ayoub was one of two reporters detained in Jordan in May 2001 while covering an anti-Israeli demonstration there. He was soon released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.