Source AP ©

Radio Free Europe says its reporter found shot dead in Iraq

The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Friday one of its journalists in Iraq had been found shot dead.

Khamail Khalaf, a reporter for the broadcaster's Arabic service known as Radio Free Iraq, was found dead in the western part of Baghdad on Thursday, said Anna Rausova, the radio's spokeswoman. She had been shot in the head, Rausova said.

Khalaf, 50, had been missing since Tuesday. She had been reporting from Iraq for the radio since 2004. Police were investigating her death, Rausova said.

"Mrs. Khamail was a courageous journalist who wanted the best for her country and believed that the people of Iraq deserve a peaceful and prosperous future," said Jeffrey Gedmin, the broadcaster's president, in a statement. "She died for that cause."

RFE/RL is a private, nonprofit corporation, which receives funding from the U.S. government. It was established in 1949 to spread pro-Western news and promote democratic values and institutions in countries behind the Iron Curtain.

The station moved its headquarters to Prague from Munich, Germany, in 1995, after the collapse of communism.

It has broadcast in 28 languages to 20 countries, including Iran and Iraq since 1998, and Afghanistan from 2002.

The broadcaster declined to say how many journalists it currently has in Iraq.