Abd Elaziz was shot dead when Egyptian security forces stormed a sit-in protest at Raba’a Al-Adawiya, in Nasr City, Cairo. The raids sparked deadly clashes across the country between police and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Abd Elaziz was a staff reporter for the local Dubai newspaper XPRESS, which is affiliated with the English-language daily Gulf News. However, in August 2013, Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor-in-chief of Gulf News, told CPJ that Abd Elaziz was not on assignment for either outlet and had returned to Egypt on annual leave, he said. Her reporting for Gulf News included various topics, including sports and sexually transmitted diseases.
In September 2013, the month after her death, Ahmed Abd Elaziz, Habiba’s father and a former media consultant to Morsi, said in a video posted on a YouTube channel belonging to Al-Omah Electronic News that the journalist was shot by a sniper while she was videotaping security forces shooting at Morsi supporters as the sit-in was dispersed.
Abd Elaziz’s father said she was on assignment for Al-Jazeera Mubasher channel when she was killed.
Mahmoud Ahmed, a staff member of Al-Jazeera Mubasher, confirmed to CPJ in August 2015 that Al-Jazeera asked Abd Elaziz to cover the Raba’a sit-in for the network. He said she covered activities including daily protests, and that she and other journalists sent their footage to videographers at a media office on site.
Ahmed told CPJ that the network was warned that security forces would be raiding the sit-in and that some of their photographers had been arrested. He said Abd Elaziz stayed at the sit-in throughout and that she covered the dispersal as it began.
Ahmed told CPJ that Abd Elaziz’s footage was later used in the documentary “Raba’a’s Fire,” which covered the lives of protesters and the casualties of Egyptian security forces. The documentary, which was aired by Al-Jazeera on the first anniversary of the Raba’a dispersal on August 14, 2014, lists Abd Elaziz as a videographer.
Egyptian security forces raided Al-Jazeera Mubasher’s offices and arrested several staff members in July 2013, following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi. State media and the transitional government accused the channel of being an outpost for the Brotherhood group, and the channel was banned in August 2013.
Qotb al-Arabi, the head of Doha-based Arab Monitor for Press Freedom, told CPJ that the Egyptian government’s crackdown on opposition journalists and those affiliated with Al-Jazeera journalists caused many reporters to decline to be identified as working with the network for security reasons.