Kurdish and French reporters killed in Mosul explosion

Landmine blast in war-torn Iraqi city kills Kurdish reporter Bakhtiyar Addad and French journalist Stephan Villeneuve.

Smoke billows from the positions of the Islamic State militants after an artillery attack by the Iraqi forces in western Mosul
Smoke billows from the positions of ISIL fighters in western Mosul [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

A landmine blast in the Iraqi city of Mosul has killed one Kurdish and one French journalist, as Iraq’s forces push deeper into the last remaining areas held by ISIL fighters.

Kurdish reporter Bakhtiyar Addad, who was working with a French team as a fixer and interpreter, was killed in Monday’s explosion, according to public broadcaster France Televisions and global journalist rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders

French journalist Stephan Villeneuve and two other French journalists were also wounded in the blast. Villeneuve later succumbed to his wounds, the broadcaster said in the early hours of Tuesday.

“The management and staff at France Televisions sympathise with the pain of his partner Sophie, his four children, his family and all those he was close to. They offer their most sincere condolences,” the head of the news department said in a statement.

Commenting on Addad’s death, The Metro Center for Journalists Rights and Advocacy said that “one more journalist became a victim to spreading the truth”, Rudaw, a media group in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, reported.

The centre added that Addad had been injured three times before as he covered the war in Mosul.

‘Very sad’

A video journalist who had covered a number of conflicts across the world, Villeneuve was filming a piece together with Veronique Robert on the battle of Mosul for French news programme Envoye Special, aired on public television channel France 2.

They were both taken to a hospital on a US military base following the explosion.

Reporter Samuel Forey, who worked for a number of French media organisations including French daily Le Figaro, also suffered light injuries.

“I am very sad for Bakhtiyar and my colleagues, I ask you to not contact me for a couple of days,” he wrote on Twitter.

The journalists were accompanying Iraqi special forces during the battle to reconquer Mosul from ISIL, where more than 100,000 civilians are being used as “human shields” by the group’s fighters, according to the United Nations.

In February, Rudaw correspondent Shifa Gardi, 30, was killed in a roadside bomb blast while covering clashes between Iraqi government forces and ISIL in Mosul.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies