Abdullah al-Montasser was killed while on assignment for al-Sahat TV, which is affiliated with the Ansar Allah group commonly known as the Houthis, in the Hais area of the al-Hodeida governorate, al-Sahat TV and other news reports said.
According to al-Sahat representative Abdul Hameed Mujab, al-Montasser was on his way to cover Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes in the area and attempts by United Arab Emirates-led ground forces to take the city, when a missile fired by a coalition aircraft hit the car in which he was traveling. The camera operator’s body was recovered a day after the strike took place, Mujab said.
Al-Montasser worked for al-Sahat TV for three years as a camera operator, covering a range of topics including war, civil society, and daily life in Yemen, Mujab said.
Photos circulated on social media and by al-Sahat after al-Montasser’s death showed him in military uniforms. Mujab told CPJ that al-Montasser had not previously performed any sort of military service or work. Nabeel Alosaidi, a committee member of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that according to sources close to the Houthi movement, al-Montasser was not fighting with the group at the time of his death.
Mujab said al-Montasser was on assignment for the channel at the time of his death, but CPJ was unable to verify independently that al-Montasser was not a combatant.
CPJ found photographs of al-Montasser in camouflage, but was unable to determine when the photographs were taken or if al-Montasser engaged in combat.
CPJ contacted the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense through its website between February 8-9, 2018, to ask if an investigation into al-Montasser’s death was being carried out, but did not immediately receive a response.