The British network that produces ITN confirmed the death of the veteran war correspondent on Sunday. The network released a statement saying Lloyd’s body is most likely in a hospital in Iraqi-controlled Basra.
Among Lloyd’s many achievements, he was the first reporter inside the Iraqi town of Halabja after Saddam Hussein dropped a chemical bomb in 1988, killing 5,000 Kurds.
Lloyd, 50, and three ITN colleagues were traveling in marked press vehicles when they were attacked. Fred Nerac, a French cameraman, and Hussein Osman, a translator from Lebanon, are still missing.
Cameraman Daniel Demoustier, who was sitting in the same jeep as Lloyd, escaped with injuries. Lloyd vanished from the passenger seat as he tried to steer the car to safety, Demoustier said.
Demoustier said the incoming fire came from U.S. or British forces stationed in the area after their vehicles passed by a military checkpoint. Demoustier recalled that their vehicles had been pursued by Iraqi troops who may have been trying to surrender to western journalists.
“Immediately the allied tanks started heavy firing directly at us,” he told the British Mail on Sunday. “Then the whole car was on fire. We were enveloped in flames. It was terrifying,” he recounted.
“I’m so angry that we were fired on by the allies. The Iraqis must have been their real target but I’m sure they were surrendering — and anyway they were all dead within minutes.”
The British Ministry of Defense is investigating whether friendly fire was involved in the incident. It was unclear if the “TV” markings were visible to the positioned U.S. and British forces.
Following Lloyd’s death, ITN announced it would withdraw its remaining independent reporters in southern Iraq.
Stewart Purvis, ITN’s chief executive and editor-in-chief, told the Guardian that the news organization initially wanted to send independent news crews to Iraq because of its experience in the first Gulf War when its correspondents working alongside military units were not able to file any “meaningful reports.”
Lloyd is the second journalist killed since the U.S.-led forces began military action in Iraq last Wednesday.
Paul Moran, 39, a cameraman on assignment for the Australian Broadcasting Corp., was among five people killed by a car bomb in northern Iraq on Saturday. Moran was traveling to the town of Sayed Sadi to investigate reports of fighting between Kurds and Iraqi militants linked to al-Qaida.
Neither of the journalists were “embedded,” or assigned to accompany a military unit of the coalition forces.
On Saturday, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke expressed condolences to the families of “journalists who were not embedded with coalition forces that have been killed and wounded.”
Clarke urged news organizations to pull back their non-embedded journalists, or so-called “unilaterals,” from combat zones in Iraq.
“We ask all new organizations to exercise restraint, especially with their journalists who are out there operating freely and ask them to exercise restraint. There are risks. Combat operations are moving in a fast and unpredictable fashion. The coalition forces will of course exercise extreme care whenever there are noncombatants. However, reporters who get between coalition and Iraqi forces put themselves at extreme risk,” Clarke told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
Army Col. Guy Shields, director of the Coalition Press Information Center in Kuwait, delivered a similar warning to journalists trying to enter the combat zones.
Of the total 2,074 registered members of the news media in Kuwait, 529 are embedded with coalition forces.
“That leaves us with 1,445 media who are unilateral, many of whom are trying to get across the border,” Shields said.
“There’s a lot of pressure to get the story or the picture, and many times editors are pushing it. But it’s just not safe. No story is worth your life,” he added.