Saturday, December 01, 2007


BAGHDAD — An Iraqi journalist who'd claimed Monday that gunmen had killed 11 family members in Baghdad recanted Friday, saying there'd been no massacre and that the only person who'd been killed was a brother-in-law who died between Kut in the south and Baghdad.

Dhia al Kawazz, who publishes a Web site from Amman, Jordan, said his initial claim — which was widely reported, including by McClatchy — was based on false information. Family members said he'd lied to get his family refugee status in Jordan.

Kawazz's story has been challenged all week, first by the police, then the government and then by his own mother. The Iraqi police issued a warrant for Kawazz's arrest through Interpol for claiming that police had threatened his family's lives, according to Abdel Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Haider Sadiq, another brother-in-law of Kawazz's, said family members had learned of their apparent deaths through the news ticker on an Iraqi television station.

"We were astonished by this, and neighbors started coming to ask us about what they saw on television," he said. "At that moment I decide to prove the truth, that we are alive."

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