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Abducted American Journalist Found Dead in Iraq

Near Basra in southern Iraq, police found the body of an American freelance journalist who was abducted Tuesday night and shot dead. Steven Vincent had recently written about the alleged infiltration of police in Basra by hard-line Shiite religious groups.

Vincent and his translator were abducted at gunpoint, and driven away in a white pickup with the word "police" on the side. Vincent's body was later discovered about 10 miles outside of Basra, beside the airport road. He had been shot multiple times, and his female translator was seriously wounded and later hospitalized.

Vincent, the author of In the Red Zone, a book on Iraq, had come to Iraq to write a history of Basra, where he had been staying for three months. He had a blog by the same name and wrote articles for U.S. newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Earlier this week, the Times published an op-ed column by Vincent in which he said Basra is increasingly falling under the influence of hard-line Shiite religious groups, including followers of the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

Vincent also criticized the relationship between the British-trained police and religious extremists. He quoted an unidentified police lieutenant as saying a few police officers were responsible for some assassinations in Basra, mostly of former Baathists.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.