Al Jazeera | The New York Times

The deaths of five people following an assault on an Iraqi television station in Tikrit on Monday have raised fears that militants are escalating their attacks on journalists in the midst of the country's ongoing violence.

Al Jazeera, citing officials, reported the dead included the station's "chief news editor, a copy editor, a producer, a presenter and the archives manager."

According to The New York Times, five suicide bombers attacked the station then fought with security forces for hours before they "either blew themselves up or were killed... ."

The assault in Tikrit, about 100 miles northwest of Baghdad, appears to open a new, deadlier phase in a vicious campaign by militants with Al Qaeda against journalists. As the overall level of violence increases, it has added to the sense here that the country is on a steady slide back to the bloodiest days of the past decade.

In Mosul, five journalists have died in the last three months, the Times said, including one who was killed in public while reporting.

Worldwide, 63 journalists have been killed this year thus far, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports. Iraq ranks second to Syria as the most dangerous country for journalists.