Ali Risan

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Ali Risan, a cameraman for the Iraqi Al-Sumaria TV channel, was killed while covering clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State fighters on October 22, 2016, according to his outlet and news reports. His killing came as Iraqi and Kurdish security forces launched a joint offensive to reclaim the city of Mosul from control of the Islamic State group.

According to Al-Sumaria, Risan and correspondent Ali Al-Moussawi were covering fighting in the Al-Shura area, a little more than 15 miles south of Mosul, when Risan was hit in the chest by an Islamic State sniper’s bullet. Al-Moussawi told Agence France Presse that Risan succumbed to his wounds before he arrived to the closest medical checkpoint.

Al-Sumaria published a video on its YouTube page on October 24 of what it said was the final footage Risan filmed before he died. The video shows Iraqi security forces firing rocket propelled grenades at presumed Islamic State group positions and flashing victory signs at the camera. The video also shows Al-Moussawi reporting in body armor and a helmet as the Iraqi security forces slowly advanced.

The general director of Al-Sumaria, Ammar Tallal, shared a video on his personal Facebook page published by the Iraqi Al-Walaa channel claiming to show the final moments of Risan’s life. The video, published on Al-Walaa’s Facebook page on October 23, shows Risan filming–wearing jeans, a short-sleeve shirt, and a baseball hat–as Iraqi security forces take cover behind their vehicles. It then cuts to Risan in an ambulance as someone tends to a bullet wound on the left side of his chest.

After Risan’s death, Tallal said, “Risan participated in most of the battles of liberation covered by Al-Sumaria” and praised the journalist’s calm and effectiveness.

According to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an independent Iraqi press freedom organization, Risan was married with two children. The observatory said he began his career as an assistant cameraman with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite TV channel before becoming a cameraman with Al-Sumaria in 2011.

In the same week Risan was killed, at least one other journalist was killed and nine others injured covering the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, according to CPJ research.