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American aid worker gunned down in Iraq

U.S. Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, at Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Jan. 3, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)
November 08, 2022

An American aid worker was shot and killed near his home in Baghdad, Iraq Monday evening, a Texas-based charity announced.

A man working for the charity was shot by gunmen traveling in two vehicles in a central area of Baghdad, where he rented a house with his family, a senior Iraqi intelligence official told the New York Times.

There’s no motive yet known behind the attack, according to the Times.

The charity, Millennium Relief and Development Services, said the man and his wife had worked for a local English learning institute it has operated in the Iraqi capital for more than 20 years. 

“He loved the people of Iraq and it motivated him to strive for excellence in his work,” the charity’s announcement said in part.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the department is “looking into” whether a U.S. citizen was killed in Baghdad.

Though any motive for the attack remains unknown, an Iraqi police major anonymously told Al Jazeera the “initial investigation and eyewitnesses showed that armed men were trying to kidnap the American citizen.”

The man’s wife and child were in the car but not injured, police told Al Jazeera.

The Iraqi foreign ministry confirmed that “the circumstances of the accident” are being investigated, Iraq’s state news agency INA reported.

Foreigners in Iraq were sometimes killed or kidnapped for ransom following the U.S. invasion in 2003. But recent years have seen fewer outright attacks as foreigners have moved into the heart of its capital, and killings are now usually related to criminal or militia activity, the Times reported.

In March 2021, a U.S. contractor died of a heart attack during a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base. And the year before, two U.S. soldiers and a British soldier were killed in a similar rocket attack.