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Second Libyan photojournalist killed in a month

This 21 June 2011 photo by Abdelqadir Fassouk shows Libyan rebels firing their weapons towards pro-Moammar Gadhafi forces in Misrata, Libya
This 21 June 2011 photo by Abdelqadir Fassouk shows Libyan rebels firing their weapons towards pro-Moammar Gadhafi forces in Misrata, Libya

AP/Abdelqadir Fassouk

This statement was originally published on cpj.org on 22 July 2016.

The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the killing of Arraed television correspondent and prominent Libyan photojournalist Abdelqadir Fassouk, who was shot yesterday while covering clashes between government-allied forces and the militant group Islamic State, according to his news outlet.

According to CPJ research, Fassouk is the second Libyan photojournalist to be killed in conflict in less than a month. Freelance photojournalist Khaled al-Zintani was shot while covering clashes on June 24 in Benghazi.

"The death of Abdelqadir Fassouk is a reminder of the terrible price that journalists in Libya are paying to do their jobs," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour. "International attention to Libya's conflict may have faded, but reporters and photographers are still battling dangerous odds to gather and share the news."

Arraed, a satellite news channel based in Istanbul, said Fassouk was covering fighting between forces loyal to Libya's unity government and the Islamic State group in the Ouagadougou neighborhood on the outskirts of the coastal city of Sirte. He was taking footage of a young fighter allied with the government as the forces circled Islamic State bases in the area. A shot from the Islamic State side hit Fassouk directly in the head, killing him instantly, the channel said.

Another 20 June 2011 photo by Fassouk shows rebel fighters firing a rocket toward pro-Qaddafi forces on the front line in Misrata, Libya.
Another 20 June 2011 photo by Fassouk shows rebel fighters firing a rocket toward pro-Qaddafi forces on the front line in Misrata, Libya.

AP/Abdelqadir Fassouk

In a statement issued on its website yesterday, the local press freedom group Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press said that Fassouk spoke to its researcher the day before he was killed and emphasized that journalists covering the war against the Islamic State group face serious risks, including lack of safety equipment, and that journalists had been repeatedly trapped in the fighting.

The channel published several reports by Fassouk from recent days, saying that he was insistent on obtaining exclusive footage from the front lines, at the risk of his life. "His motive was always (finding) the truth and nothing more. He was our first source for information and verification," his colleague, Yasin Khattab, said in an interview published on the broadcaster's YouTube channel today.

Fassouk had worked as a photojournalist since the 2011 Libyan uprising against the late President Muammar Qaddafi. His work appeared in outlets including The Associated Press and Time magazine.

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