Source AP ©

Bomb kills Russian photographer in Iraq

In Iraq roadside bomb blast killed the Russian photographer and six U.S. troops.

Dmitry Chebotayev, 29, was killed Sunday while traveling in a vehicle with American troops on a road between Baghdad and Baqouba, Russian Newsweek editor Leonid Parfyonov said.

Chebotayev, a freelance photojournalist who often worked for Russian Newsweek, was on assignment for the magazine at the time, said Parfyonov.

"It is a big loss for us," Parfyonov told The Associated Press. "Everyone here loved him, and loved working with him. He was a cheerful person who loved life."

The U.S. military had said six soldiers and a European journalist were killed when a massive bomb destroyed their vehicle in Diyala province. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded, the military said.

Chebotayev, who was from Moscow, often worked in dangerous places such as Iraq and Russia's war-scarred Chechnya region, Parfyonov said. He called Chebotayev "a very good photographer. He was a young guy who took risks, who often worked in hot spots."

Chebotayev is the only Russian journalist to have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, said Oleg Panfilov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations.

Iraq was the deadliest country for journalists over the past decade, with 138 deaths, the Brussels-based International News Safety Institute said in a March report. Russia was second, with 88, it said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vocally opposed the invasion, warning that it would harm international security rather than improving it.

The abduction and killing of four Russian diplomats in Baghdad in June prompted calls from Moscow for better security measures by Iraqi and U.S. forces.