Dec 6, 2006

The Fog of War

Spain's supreme court has ordered a fresh investigation into the killing of a TV cameraman by US troops during the Iraq war more than three years ago.

Jose Couso, 37, died in April 2003 after a US tank fired on a hotel used by foreign journalists in Baghdad.

An attempt by his family to press charges was dismissed last year by a lower court in Spain.

But the Supreme Court accepted the family's appeal, potentially paving the way for an extradition request.

The family accept however that it will be difficult to bring the soldiers in question - Sergeant Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant-Colonel Philip De Camp - to Spain.

The US has acknowledged one of their tanks fired on the Palestine Hotel, the base for almost all the foreign media crews in Baghdad, but insisted the soldiers believed they were being shot at when they opened fire.

Reuters cameraman Taras Portsyuk, a Ukrainian, was also killed in the blast.

TV footage of the incident, which did not record any incoming fire, was witnessed on TV around the world on the day before the fall of the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Earlier on the same day, a correspondent for the Arabic TV broadcaster al-Jazeera was killed when US missiles hit the network's office in Baghdad.

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