TRIPOLI, 14 July-2014(Reuters): Seven people were killed and 36 wounded on Sunday in the worst clashes…
AFP, Tripoli: A Dutch journalist was killed by sniper fire on Sunday while covering clashes in Libya’s coastal city of
Sirte, as unity government forces battled Islamic State group holdouts in the jihadist bastion.
Dr Akram Gliwan, spokesperson for a hospital in Misrata where pro-government fighters are treated, told AFP that photographer Jeroen Oerlemans was “shot in the chest by an IS sniper while covering battles in Sirte” 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli.
Gliwan said his body had been transferred to Misrata, 200 kilometres west of Sirte.
Oerlemans was working in Libya for a number of organisations, including the Belgian weekly Knack magazine, which confirmed his death.
A message on Knack’s website said Oerlemans was shot on a reporting assignment and that the publication “wishes his family much strength”.
Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders also mourned his death.
“Oerlemans is a journalist who went where others would not go. He was driven to bring us the news through his pictures especially from the world’s trouble spots,” Koenders said in a statement.
“That he has now paid the highest price is incredibly sad. I wish his wife, children and family every strength at this great loss. A great photographer is gone.”
Forces allied with Libya’s UN-backed government of national accord launched an assault against the jihadists in Sirte in May.
IS fighters holed up in the town, birthplace of ousted Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi, responded with suicide bombings and sniper fire, slowing the government-backed advance.
Fighting on Sunday killed at least 10 IS fighters and eight pro-government fighters around the jihadist bastion, the unity government in Tripoli said.
Pro-government forces said they were “progressing” in Sirte, where they have surrounded IS militants, prompting some to try to escape.
They said loyalist fighters had recovered the bodies of at least 10 jihadists and were chasing another group that had fled Sirte.