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According to an investigation by the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, the aircrew “accurately assessed that the criteria to find and terminate the threat to friendly forces were met in accordance with the law of armed conflict and rules of engagement.” The report concluded that the attack helicopters positively identified the threat; established hostile intent; conducted appropriate collateral damage assessment; and received clearance to fire
the military indirectly blamed the reporters for being in the company of “armed insurgents” and making no effort to identify themselves as journalists. An investigating officer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 2nd Infantry Division, concluded that “the cameramen made no effort to visibly display their status as press or media representatives” and added that “their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the Coalition Ground Forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.” A long telephoto lens, the officer says, could have been mistaken for a rocket-propelled grenade.