Arraed television correspondent and Libyan photojournalist Abdelqadir Fassouk was fatally shot on July 21, 2016, while covering a battle between government-allied forces and the Islamic State militant group, in the Ouagadougou neighborhood of the outskirts of the coastal city of Sirte, Arraed reported.
Fayez Swiry, a supervising news editor with Arraed channel, a satellite news channel based in Istanbul, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that Fassouk was on an assignment with the station, covering fighting between forces loyal to Libya’s unity government and the Islamic State group when he was shot. He added that medical staff who saw Fassouk’s body and Brazilian photojournalist Andre Liohn, who was with Fassouk at the time of his death, told the station that Fassouk had been shot by a sniper.
Liohn told CPJ that he was covering the clashes with Fassouk, and that the two had worked alongside each other covering Libya since 2011. He told CPJ that he and Fassouk were trapped by constant fire from fighters loyal to the Islamic State group. When they tried to take cover behind a car, a sniper shot Fassouk in the head.
Liohn on July 22, 2016, published short video showing Fassouk on the frontlines, photographing a young fighter allied with the government firing a rocket-propelled grenade at Islamic State group positions.
He later told the story of Fassouk’s killing to the Brazilian newspaper Folha, in a video that was published on the newspaper’s YouTube channel on July 24.
Arraed channel published several video reports by Fassouk in the days following his death, saying that he was committed to obtaining exclusive footage from the front, even 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 on July 22.
In a statement issued on its website on July 22, the local press freedom group Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press said that Fassouk had spoken with researchers from the group the day before he was killed. In that conversation, Fassouk emphasized that journalists covering the war against the Islamic State group face serious risks, including a lack of safety equipment, and that journalists had been repeatedly trapped in the fighting.
Fassouk was the second Libyan photojournalist to be killed in conflict in a month. Freelance photojournalist Khaled al-Zintani was fatally shot while covering clashes on June 24 in Benghazi.
Fassouk had worked as a photojournalist since the 2011 Libyan uprising. His work appeared in The Associated Press and Time magazine.