London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Four journalists were among the estimated 525 killed in Egypt on Wednesday during the security operations to clear public areas of Cairo of protesters demanding the return of ousted president Mohamed Mursi.
Two Egyptian journalists, a British cameraman and a Dubai-based reporter were killed while investigating and reporting on the events.
The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders learned that a further four had been wounded during the clashes that were ongoing throughout the day.
Sky News reported that Mick Deane, a veteran cameraman who had worked for the media outlet for 15 years, was shot and killed during the police raid and clearance at Rabaa Al-Adawiyah Square in Cairo. The 61-year-old had been based in Jerusalem since 2011.
British prime minister David Cameron paid tribute to the cameraman and his role.
“It is an incredibly brave and important job he was doing. It is essential that cameramen are in places like Egypt because otherwise none of us would know what is happening,” Cameron said, following official condemnations of the violence by the UK government.
Also killed at Al-Adawiyah Square, which has been one of the main protest sites in the capital since the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from government, was Habiba Abdul Aziz.
Abdul Aziz, who worked as a reporter for Xpress news, a sister publication of Gulf News, had not been given an active assignment but was in Egypt for her vacation, the news outlet claimed.
In a chilling series of text messages with her mother, who later made the communications available, the 26-year-old journalist said at 7.50 a.m. local time that she was “heading to the platform in a little while. There are tanks there.”
Five hours later, Sabreen Mangoud tried one last time to contact her daughter: “Habiba, please reassure me. I’ve called thousands of times. Please, my darling, I’m worried sick. Tell me how you are.”
By that time, the young UAE citizen had been shot and killed by a sniper, Gulf News confirmed.
The two Egyptian journalists confirmed to have died Wednesday are Ahmed Abdel Gawad and Mosab El-Shami.
Abdel Gawad worked for Al-Akhbar, a state-owned newspaper, and died while covering the attack at Al-Adawiyah Square. The Egyptian Press Syndicate reported that it “received the news of the death of our colleague with great sadness and sorrow.” It was not immediately clear how Abdel Gawad had been killed.
In its statement, the syndicate went on to “call upon the Egyptian authorities to investigate immediately the circumstances of his death, and that those responsible are held accountable. [We] stress the need to preserve the lives of fellow journalists assigned to cover events.”
Mosab El-Shami worked as a photojournalist for Rassd News Netork (RNN), an independent and alternative media organization that grew rapidly after its launch on January 25, 2011. Its original outlet is RNN’s Facebook page, which has a total of nearly three million followers.
“Rassd congratulates with the utmost pride the family of photographer Mosab El-Shami, the martyr of Egyptian freedom and dignity, who was killed by the hand of betrayal while covering the Rabaa massacre at the hands of those who executed the coup,” the network told its followers via social media.
Several other journalists and photographers were injured during the clashes. Asmaa Waguih, a photojournalist for the Reuters news agency, suffered a gunshot wound to the foot. She is receiving treatment at the international medical center.
Reporters Without Borders also reported that Tarek Abbas, a journalist with Al-Watan newspaper, who suffered gunshot injuries to his leg and eye. Photographer Ahmad Najjar sustained gunshot injury to the arm during clashes at Mostafa Mahmoud Square. He and his colleagues claim that the injury came after Mursi supporters opened fire on them. Pro-Mursi demonstrators then seized his camera.
Iman Hilal did not sustain any injuries but was threatened with a knife by Mursi supporters, who “forced him to hand over his camera’s memory card,” according to the report. At the time, he had been covering the unfolding events at Rabaa Al-Adawiyah Square for the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.