The streets were quiet as we drove back to our hotel this afternoon. Eerily quiet. It was a bit disconcerting until we remembered that the Iraqi football team was playing Australia in the Asian cup.
Iraq won 3-1, provoking celebratory gunshots after the game. Afterwards, as I walked to a nearby restaurant to get dinner, the streets in the neighborhood around the hotel were full of kids playing soccer. The harsh midday sun had given way to the soft light of evening, and I enjoyed a peaceful moment in what had otherwise been a depressing day, spent investigating a round of fighting on Thursday that had led to the deaths of a Reuters photographer and his assistant, as well as a dozen fighters and civilians, depending on whose account one believes.
The incident is another example of how hard it is to get to the bottom of things here, and it didn't help that the amount of time we were able to spend in the neighborhood was limited by the potential that the people giving eyewitness accounts might decide to vent their anger on us rather than to us.
That brings the official total of press and support staff killed to 150, though likely it is higher.
According to residents, US fire directed at this minibus during a firefight in Baghdad's al-Amin Ithania neighborhood killed seven, including two Reuters employees.
Residents of al-Amin Ithania prepare for the funerals of three people killed on Thursday.