A cameraman for Arabic television network Al Jazeera has been murdered in what is believed to have been an ambush near Benghazi in rebel-controlled eastern Libya.
Ali Hassan Al Jaber was on his way back to Benghazi from a nearby town after covering an opposition protest when unidentified gunmen opened fire on an automobile in which he and his colleagues were riding in. Al Jaber and another person was shot. Al Jaber was dispatched to a hospital where he died.
Al Jaber, a Qatari national, was the director of CNBC Arabiya TV bureau in Qatar. His death is believed to be the first report of a journalist killed in the current crisis in Libya.
Another reporter for Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, said Al Jaber was shot three times and suffered a fatal wound through the heart.
This is an extension of the campaign against Al Jazeera, and Al Jazeera Arabic particularly - because everyone here watch Al Jazeera Arabic,” he said. “Their work has been heroic, and it has been a great shock to lose a colleague.
The director-general of Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, said the network will not remain silent and will seek to prosecute those responsible for the attack, and indirectly blamed the Gaddafi regime for it, citing the network has faced an unprecedented campaign by the Libyan leader.
Al Jazeera condemns the cowardly crime, which comes as part of the Libyan regime's malicious campaign targeting Al Jazeera and its staff, the network said in a statement.
Al Jazeera reiterates 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.
Gaddafi has long criticized Al Jazeera and blamed it for fomenting unrest in Libya.
Al Jaber’s death was mourned by anti-government protesters in Benghazi.
“Here and now, Libyan and Qatari blood is mixed for the sake of freedom. Our condolences go to the Qatari people and the Al Jazeera channel” read a banner.
Khanfar added: [Al Jaber] was one of those people who lived and eventually died in the pursuit of truth. 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.