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Were members of Iraqi journalist Diaa al Kawwaz’s family really killed?! Is it true that a horrifying massacre claimed the lives of 11 people, including seven children, after eight masked gunmen stormed their house and murdered them a few days ago?

Or is this simply a fabricated story that was propagated by that Iraqi journalist who runs an online news website from Germany, in which he expresses many of his critical views about the present situation in his country?

This question would never be raised except in Iraq…

Al Kawwaz stated that gunmen had murdered his two sisters and their families in the al Shaab district in north Iraq, furthermore linking between the crime and his journalistic work and also accused both internal and foreign parties of perpetrating it. Moreover, the Iraqi journalist held a funeral service in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

But it doesn’t end here; al Kawwaz’s sisters appeared in a televised interview and denied the allegations. However, al Kawwaz insisted that members of his family were indeed killed and that there were pressures on him and his family to deny the crime, implicitly upholding that this denial was an attempt to protect the lives of his remaining family members.

An entire family killed in a massacre; is that true or not?!

Is there anywhere in the world where it would be difficult to verify whether an entire family was truly killed or not except in Iraq?! It is a terrible, alarming and sad irony.

Al Kawwaz confirms the death of some of his family members while some surviving members deny the occurrence of the alleged incident. Are there any corpses? Photographs? Documents? How can the Iraqi and Arab public unravel the truth about this issue, which results in a number of different conclusions in both cases anyway?

This event, upon which the details are yet to be elaborated, comes at a time when indicators point towards a decline in the levels of killings and violence in Iraq. However, the difficulties in the working and living conditions in the state have yet to show any signs of improvement.

Journalists are still being targeted, among others in Iraq, which drives many to reconsider the reality in which they live and the security conditions in the state. A journalist should closely examine the situation and consider his circumstances, as well as those of his family, so as to avoid being targeted.

In an incident like that of al Kawwaz, the general security of a journalist’s family becomes a priority  especially in light of the lack of accountability for committed crimes. If that massacre had indeed taken place, then we are facing a new and violent reality in Iraq. If the rates of violence in Iraq have diminished then an incident such as this one indicates an aggravation in the types of violence as such.

According to what has been announced regarding the circumstances of the massacre, the killings were carried out by masked militia members, not terrorists. Thus, in accordance with the Iraqi concept of violence; the Iraqi militia that allegedly targeted the family would be one of the known militias, which are linked to a clear hierarchy that often at times reaches as high as heads of government. That militia stormed a house and murdered a family in cold blood, including seven children.

Undoubtedly, this is a befuddling story that raises multiple questions regardless of whether the massacre has actually taken place or not.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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