Two Iraqi journalists killed in village south of Mosul



Sat, 08 Jul 2017 - 01:35 GMT


Sat, 08 Jul 2017 - 01:35 GMT

IOM has suspended its operations at Qayyara airstrip emergency site because of the clashes. Photo: IOM

IOM has suspended its operations at Qayyara airstrip emergency site because of the clashes. Photo: IOM

Baghdad - 8 July 2017 : Two Iraqi television journalists were killed by the Islamic State group while two others were trapped Friday in the same village south of Mosul but were later rescued by security forces.

IS infiltrated Imam Gharbi, seizing territory in the village and kidnapping civilians. Police forces launched a counterattack, but several officers and the accompanying journalists were instead surrounded by the jihadists.

The attack by IS highlights what is likely to be a growing danger as the group loses more ground and increasingly returns to bombings and hit-and-run attacks that were its hallmark in past years.

"Colleague Harb Hazaa al-Dulaimi, correspondent for the Hona Salaheddin channel, and Sudad al-Duri, the cameraman for the same station, were martyred" in Imam Gharbi, the channel said.

Mustafa Wahadi, a third journalist from Hona Salaheddin who was among those surrounded by IS in Imam Gharbi, posted on his Facebook page while he was trapped, calling for security forces to rescue them.

"The situation around me is very dangerous" and "Daesh is very close," Wahadi wrote, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

"This may be my last post, maybe I will be killed," the journalist wrote.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan later announced that "security forces were able to liberate the journalists who were surrounded in the village along with the officers who were with them."

But Iraqi forces have yet to oust the jihadists from Imam Gharbi.

"We succeeded this afternoon in liberating those who were trapped," said Staff Major General Najmeddin al-Juburi, the head of the Nineveh Operations Command, which is responsible for security in the province.

"Now we are completely surrounding the village and we will storm it within hours," he said.

Imam Gharbi is more than 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of Mosul, and is located close to the Tigris River, near IS-held territory that was bypassed by Iraqi forces in their push north toward the country's second city.

IS fighters crossed the river and infiltrated Imam Gharbi, an army brigadier general said.
Police forces "rushed" to attack the jihadists in the village but were instead surrounded themselves, according to a police colonel said.

After that, "military forces supported by army helicopters" were then dispatched to Imam Gharbi, the brigadier general said.

The jihadists have kidnapped multiple families from the village.

"It is confirmed that there are more than 10 families kidnapped by Daesh members, among them women and children," the army officer said.

Sheikh Marwan Jbara, a spokesman for tribes in the nearby Salaheddin province, said that 40 to 50 jihadists infiltrated the village and kidnapped 10 families.

The deaths of the two journalists in Imam Gharbi come after three others were killed and a fourth wounded by an explosion last month in Mosul, where they were covering the battle to retake the city from IS.

"Iraq is among the top three most deadly countries for the fourth year in a row," the Committee to Protect Journalists said of 2016.

And Reporters Without Borders, another media rights watchdog, termed it "one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists".

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost.



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