Two Iraqi TV journalists killed in fighting near Mosul

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is deeply saddened to learn that two Iraqi TV journalists, reporter Harb Hazza Al-Doulaimi and cameraman Soudad Al-Douri, were killed while covering clashes between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State fighters in Imam Gharbi, a village 60 km south of Mosul, on 7 July.

Two other journalists were injured and an undetermined number of villagers were killed or wounded during an attempt by the Iraqi government forces to retake the village. Harb HazzaDoulaimi and Soudad Al-Douri, who worked for the Iraqi TV channel Hona Salaheddin, had been accompanying the government forces.

Covering the reconquest of Mosul and the surrounding region has been extremely dangerous for journalists. The two latest deaths bring the number of journalists killed this year in Iraq to seven, and the number of journalists and media workers killed since the start of Mosul campaign last autumn to eleven.

Doulaimi and Douri suddenly found themselves surrounded by Islamic State fighters and were killed before the government forces could come to their rescue. A third journalist working for Hona Salaheddin, Mostafa Wahadi, also found himself trapped behind enemy lines with a number of Iraqi army officers, but the security forces managed to rescue them.

Hona Salaheddin paid a video tribute to its dead cameraman and expressed regret that the bodies of the two men were left behind during the rescue operation. Their bodies were finally delivered to their families after they were found on 20 July when the government forces were able to fully enter the village.

Three journalists – Iranian fixer Bakhtiar Haddad, Swiss reporter Véronique Robert and French reporter Stephan Villeneuve – were killed by an explosive device in the old town of Mosul three weeks ago.

Iraq is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Published on
Updated on 20.07.2017