New York, August 24, 2016 – Media technician Ali Ghani was killed in an attack by mortar fire while reporting in Jaziret al-Khalideya, in Iraq’s Anbar province on Saturday, August 20. Correspondent Hussein al-Fares was wounded in the same attack, according to Al-Ahad TV, which employed both men. Al-Ahad TV is affiliated with Asaib Ahl al-Haq, League of the Righteous, a Shiite militia currently fighting militants from the Islamic State group alongside government security forces.
Ghani and al-Fares, along with two cameramen, were reporting from an area in Jaziret al-Khalideya which government-allied forces had recently seized from Islamic State, Layth al-Adari, station manager at Al-Ahad TV, told CPJ. The attack took place at around 12:30 p.m., while the crew was setting up to do a live report for the channel’s afternoon news show.
Jaziret al-Khalideya lies between the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, both of which have seen fierce fighting between Islamic State and government forces.
Ghani was hit by mortar fire shrapnel and died instantly, al-Adari said. Al-Fares was injured in his leg and torso, and is in stable condition in a Baghdad hospital. The crew had two cars with them, one of which was destroyed in the attack. The two cameramen survived without injuries, al-Adari said.
“Ali Ghani’s death from mortar fire is a sad reminder that reporting on the violence in Iraq is potentially deadly for the press,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Senior Research Associate Jason Stern said. “Iraqi journalists continue to show remarkable courage in the face of enormous risks to report the news.”
In a separate development, cameraman Mustafa Said was killed on August 14 while covering clashes between Kurdish militias and fighters from the Islamic State group near Mosul, according to news reports. Correspondent Hayman Nanqli was also injured, AFP reported. Both journalists worked for Kurdistan TV, a TV channel owned by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the de facto party of government in northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous, predominantly ethnic-Kurdish region.
CPJ data show that Iraq is the most deadly country for journalists since CPJ began keeping records in 1992.