June 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general, the Pentagon’s investigative agency, on Monday said U.S. soldiers who killed a Reuters journalist in Iraq acted within military rules, but the Army’s probe of the incident was tainted by its failure to preserve evidence.
Seven Reuters staff have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Details of the deaths follow:
* April 8 - Reuters Ukrainian cameraman Taras Protsyuk killed by a U.S. tank shell fired at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.
* Aug. 17 - Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana, a Palestinian, shot and killed by U.S. troops as he films outside Abu Ghraib prison.
* Nov. 1 - Dhia Najim, an Iraqi freelance cameraman filming for Reuters, killed in Ramadi. His colleagues and family said they believed he had been shot by a U.S. sniper. The U.S. military said he died in a gun battle between Marines and insurgents.
* Aug. 28 - Waleed Khaled, a Reuters Television soundman is shot and killed in the Hay al-Adil district of west Baghdad. Cameraman Haider Kadhem is wounded.
An independent inquiry commissioned by Reuters concluded in April 2006 that the soldiers’ shooting of Iraqi television soundman Khaled appeared "unlawful." But the Pentagon’s inspector general said U.S. soldiers who fired on the journalists’ car reasonably responded to what they thought was a threat.
* July 11 - Gunmen shot and killed an Iraqi who worked as a translator for Reuters in Baghdad. His family has asked that his name not be mentioned.
* July 12 - Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh are killed in a U.S. helicopter air strike in eastern Baghdad. There had been reports of clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents in the area but there was no fighting on the streets in which Namir was moving about with a group of men.
It is believed two or three of these men may have been carrying weapons, although witnesses said none were assuming a hostile posture at the time. The U.S. military said the helicopter attacked after security forces came under fire. (Writing by David Cutler and Kristin Roberts, Editing by Jon Boyle)