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A contracted driver delivering newspapers for Stars and Stripes in Iraq remains in a Baghdad hospital after he and another driver were attacked on their way back from a delivery to U.S. bases near Balad.

The second driver was killed in the Sunday incident, along with an unrelated translator for the U.S. military who had asked for a ride back to Baghdad. It remains unclear whether the attack was random, or targeted at Iraqi staff working for the newspaper.

According to an account given by Ibrihim — Stripes’ contractor who hires drivers to deliver the papers and who asked that his family name not be used for security reasons — the attack occurred near Taji, north of Baghdad.

The three men were traveling in a van on a main road until a military road closure forced them to take a back route through smaller villages. They were ambushed on that road by three men in a black Daewoo Prince, Ibrihim said.

In recent months, several reports from Iraq have told of insurgents or criminals attacking vehicles traveling on back roads.

One of the drivers, a 53-year-old man, was killed. According to Ibrihim, the man had a wife and eight children, ranging in age from 30 to 4.

“It is a serious loss to Stars and Stripes that another one of the courageous Iraqis who work with us has been killed doing his job. He will be missed and I sincerely hope his murderers will be brought to justice,” Thomas Kelsch, publisher of Stars and Stripes, said from Washington, D.C.

“May God bless his kids and keep him in His paradise,” Ibrihim said of the driver and his family.

The second driver managed to escape the scene of the attack on foot and found a military checkpoint, which called for a medical evacuation.

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