The US Department of State condemned here Monday the murder of Radio Free Iraq's Baghdad bureau chief, Mohammed Bdaiwi al-Shammari who was killed after a confrontation at a checkpoint in Baghdad yesterday. "We are deeply concerned about the circumstances surrounding his death, and we call on the government of Iraq to conduct a full investigation into the incident and to hold the perpetrator of this criminal act to account," said the Department's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf. "The killing of any innocent is to be deplored. The murder of a journalist is a particular affront because it strikes at a fundamental pillar of democracy," she stressed. The case is now with the Iraqi judiciary in which Harf called on "the Iraqi government to ensure that the investigation is handled in a manner consistent with the constitution and laws of Iraq." She affirmed that the U.S. has a "strong and continuing partnership with the Iraqi government."