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Three Lebanese al-Manar journalists murdered in Syria

Mother of Hamza Haj Hassan, a reporter for Hezbollah's al-Manar television, holds his picture as she mourns his death in his home village in Shaath on 15 April 2014
Mother of Hamza Haj Hassan, a reporter for Hezbollah's al-Manar television, holds his picture as she mourns his death in his home village in Shaath on 15 April 2014

REUTERS/Ahmad Shalha

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on Syrian authorities to ensure the murderers of three Lebanese journalists in the town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, yesterday, Monday 14 April, are made to answer for the appalling crime.

According to media reports, reporter Hamza Haj Hassan, cameraman Mohamad Mantash and technician Halim Allaw, who worked for Hezbollah's al-Manar television station, were shot while covering fighting between government forces and insurgents.

Al-Manar aired footage of a bullet riddled car in which it said the crew was travelling when they were attacked. Two other members of the crew were also wounded in the attack, but are said to be in a stable condition.

"We express our condolences to the family and colleagues of the three Lebanese journalists Hamza Haj Hassan, Mohamad Mantash and Halim Allaw, who were brutally murdered in cold blood," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

"We call on the Syrian government to carry out a thorough and immediate investigation into the incident and to ensure the perpetrators of this disgraceful act faces the full and swift weight of justice."

The situation in Syria continues to be extremely volatile. Last year, according to IFJ statistics, it topped the list of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, with 15 journalists murdered there, while in March this year the IFJ issued a statement condemning the murder of Abdel Qader, a cameraman for Beirut-based satellite television channel Al-Mayadeen, who was shot by a sniper in the province of Deir Ezzor.

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