Anton Hammerl, the 41-year-old South African photographer who had gone missing in Libya, is believed to be dead, say his family members.They said he was apparently killed in the Libyan desert by Moammar Gadhafi's forces, a report in The Wall Street Journal said on Friday.

Family spokeswoman Bronwyn Friedlander said that they believed so after Libya released journalists who were with him when they came under attack on April 5th in which Hammerl suffered a severe stomach injury. Anton cried 'help,'and told them he had been hit, said Friedlander, the report said.

We believe that his injuries are such that he would not have survived without immediate medical attention, Friedlander said. It is incredibly cruel that they [the Libyans] have been telling us that they had him, the journal reported.

Two other journalists, one Gills who freelances for The Atlantic and USA Today and one Foley, who writes for the Boston-based news agency GlobalPost, were released earlier this week. They informed the family that they alongwith Halmmerl had come under attack on April 5.

Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through, stated the family on a Facebook post. From the moment Anton disappeared in Libya we have lived in hope as the Libyan officials assured us that they had Anton.

The journalist has two sons, one is 7 year old and the other is 14-weeks-old.

Our prayers and thoughts are with Anton's family, friends and colleagues,'' Abramjee said. To the Hammerl family, please accept the condolences of the entire media fraternity.

The photographer's colleagues have been pushing the government officials in South Africa to seek information about him from Libya.