Al Jazeera cameraman was 'lured into trap and killed by Gaddafi supporters'

March 14, 2011 - 0:0

An Al Jazeera cameraman killed in eastern Libya was lured into a trap set by supporters of the country's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, according to sources at the broadcaster.

Ali Hassan al-Jaber was among a team from the network's Arabic station who were attacked as they were returning to the rebel-held city of Benghazi on Saturday.
In an official statement, Al Jazeera said the group were ambushed, and the “cowardly crime” was “part of the Libyan regime's malicious campaign targeting Al Jazeera and its staff”.
It said the group had been returning to Benghazi from a nearby town after reporting on an opposition protest. Sources at Al Jazeera told the Guardian the group had been “lured” to an interview and then their car was sprayed with bullets.
Jaber, a Qatari national, was rushed to hospital but he died from his injuries. Another Al Jazeera journalist was wounded.
Gaddafi has blamed Al Jazeera, which has won plaudits for its reporting of the Middle East and north African uprisings, for the bloodshed in Libya.
Speaking at the annual Al Jazeera media forum at the network's base in Doha in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, its director general, Wadah Khanfar, paid tribute to the “martyred” journalist: “He was one of those people who lived and eventually died in the pursuit of truth.”
Khanfar said: “We are determined to carry on regardless. We cannot sacrifice our lives except for noble causes. There is no nobler cause than the pursuit of truth.”
He said residents in Benghazi had spontaneously turned out to demonstrate in support of the station after news of the attack emerged. Al Jazeera's website carried a picture of what it said was the coffin of the dead journalist being carried through the streets of Benghazi, draped in the Libyan flag.
Earlier, Khanfar attacked the “unprecedented” campaign waged by Gaddafi against the station. In a statement, the station said: “Al Jazeera condemns the cowardly crime, which comes as part of the Libyan regime's malicious campaign targeting Al Jazeera and its staff.
“Al Jazeera reiterates that the assault cannot dent its resolve to continue its mission, professionally enlightening the public of the unfolding events in Libya and elsewhere. Al Jazeera stresses it will relentlessly prosecute and bring to justice all perpetrators and their accomplices.”
Tony Birtley, a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in Benghazi, told the broadcaster's website that Jaber had been hit by three shots and was wounded through the heart.
“This is an extension of the campaign against Al Jazeera, and Al Jazeera Arabic particularly - because everyone here watches Al Jazeera Arabic. Their work has been heroic, and it has been a great shock to lose a colleague.”
(Source: The Guardian)