The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative mourns the loss of Ammar, Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). In the same blast our friend Emad, journalist and member of the Iraqi Social Forum Committee on behalf of IWPR, was badly injured. Emad worked with us on the Save the Tigis Campaign, he is a co-founder of the Iraqi Coalition for Freedom of Expression, and we are confident he will fully recover soon to continue on these paths. We send our solidarity to him, to the family of Ammar and to all members of the IWPR in Baghdad. Ammar and Emad were not targets of this attack, but terror now reaches even central areas of the city that were considered safe places by civil society. Our hearts are with all Iraqis who do not surrender to fear.
The post by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting follows:
Car bomb claims the life of dearest colleague, husband and father of four.
Ammar al-Shahbander, long-standing Chief of Mission in Iraq for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), was killed last night, May 2, in a car bomb attack in the busy commercial area of Karrada in Baghdad.
It is believed that up to 17 people were killed in twin bomb blasts in the area. Emad al-Sharaa, also with IWPR in Baghdad, was wounded, and remains in serious but stable condition.
“Ammar’s death is a tragedy for his beautiful family and a profound shock for all of us at IWPR,” said IWPR Executive Director Anthony Borden. “He was devoted to helping build a new and peaceful Iraq, and he was one of the most informed, creative and passionate members of the civil society community there –hugely respected by government officials, Western diplomats and the international press, and loved by his colleagues. His loss is a major blow to Iraq, and to us all.”
Al-Shahbander, age 41, a native of Iraq with Swedish nationality, started working for IWPR in Iraq in 2005, and become Chief of Party in 2008 and Chief of Mission in 2009. He previously worked with the Iraq Foundation. He leaves a wife and four children.