Iraqi fixer and journalist Bakhtiyar Haddad was killed, along with French cameraman Stephan Villeneuve and French journalist Veronique Robert, in an explosion that also injured French journalist Samuel Forey, as they covered Iraqi soldiers’ efforts to retake control of the old city of Mosul on June 19, 2017, according to news reports and the French journalists’ employers.
Haddad was embedded with elite Iraqi soldiers, traveling on foot through Mosul when an improvised explosive device exploded, news reports said. Alex Kay Potter—a nurse who was on the initial treatment team and who acts as director of communications for Global Response Management (GRM), an international nonprofit that provides medical care on the frontlines of conflicts—told CPJ that Haddad, Forey, Villeneuve, and Robert were initially treated at a trauma stabilization point run by GRM and Iraqi Special Operations Forces. Kurdish broadcasters Rudaw and Kurdistan 24 reported that Haddad died of his injuries soon after the explosion.
Haddad worked as a translator and fixer for French journalists in northern Iraq for more than a decade. He also worked as a freelancer for the French TV channel La Chaine Info (LCI) in 2013 and 2014. According to his Facebook profile and to the French weekly Paris Match, he had recently cooperated with Veronique Robert on a reportage that Paris Match published on June 16, 2017, by providing pictures of French jihadist militants in Mosul.
Haddad’s left hand was hit by a sniper’s bullet while he reported from the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on June 23, 2016, according to Libération and a post Villeneuve wrote on Facebook. U.S. soldiers detained Haddad alongside French photographer Corentin Fleury on suspicion of collaborating with Iraqi guerrillas on November 8, 2004, according to Libération. He was released on December 5, Libération reported.