Salah Hasan arrived at the scene of explosions in Baquba on Monday and was arrested only minutes later.

According to an Aljazeera TV spokesman, Jihad Ballut, Hasan was among several international journalists on the scene who were asked for their IDs. 

“Hassan was the only one arrested. The rest were allowed to go,” Ballut told Aljazeera.net.

The forces confiscated Hasan’s camera and videotapes and transferred him to a US military camp. No reasons have been given for his arrest.

“We were told yesterday that he would be released today (Tuesday). But today we have been told that they are waiting for a translator in order to conduct questioning.”

Ballut said the channel was disturbed at the increasing number of incidents which indicated Aljazeera employees were being targeted.

“This latest arrest seems to be part of an ongoing trend,” he said. “We call on the American authorities to emphasise to its people on the ground, especially military commanders, that for the sake of Iraq and its people, freedom of the press needs to be maintained.”

Growing trend

Hasan was first arrested three weeks ago north of Baghdad by Iraqi police, who handed him over to US forces. The Americans at first denied they had him in custody although Aljazeera had written confirmation of the handover from local police. Hasan was released 72 hours later with no reason for his detention given.

Late last month, another Aljazeera cameraman, Samir Hamza, was released by occupation forces in Baghdad after being held for two days in Baghdad. He was arrested while filming the aftermath of a bomb explosion outside a police station.

The search and arrest of Samir
Hamza is caught on camera

Two weeks earlier, Aljazeera correspondent Atwar Bahjat was arrested while covering a bomb attack in the al-Ghazzaliya district of the capital. She was held in a US military holding area at Baghdad airport overnight, before being released.

Top Aljazeera journalist Taysir Aluni was released on bail by Spanish officials in late October after being in detention for nearly one month. Aluni, famous for his interview with Usama bin Ladin shortly after the 11 September attacks in the US, was held on suspicion of links to the al-Qaida network.

Aluni has denied any such links.

In April this year, Aljazeera journalist Tariq Ayyub was killed in Baghdad after an American missile hit the Aljazeera offices in the city.

American occupation forces denied targeting the offices, despite being given the co-ordinates for the television channel’s Baghdad bureau by Aljazeera.