Killing of Al-Manar crew in Syria draws condemnation

Killing of Al-Manar crew in Syria draws condemnation
Tue Apr 15, 2014 07:41:07

Three crew members of Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station have been killed by “takfiri terrorists” in the Syrian town of Maaloula, as politicians offered condolences and praised those killed as martyrs.

Al-Manar identified the men as reporter Hamzah Hajj Hasan, 29, technician Halim Allaw and cameraman Mohammad Mantash. Several other crew members were wounded, the station said.

Hasan Hamzah, Hajj Hasan’s colleague at Al-Manar, said he would miss him the most, as the two were very close to each other. “We sat next to each other in the newsroom and shared lots of things, we used the same telephone ... and we shared the same lockers,” Hamzah told The Daily Star sadly. “Just today, I wore his shirt and I am still wearing it right now.”

Hamzah said that Hajj Hasan knew he was heading to dangerous places. “He was perseverant and knew what he wanted. His life has ended today ... his death is a loss, but he is one of a series of Al-Manar martyrs, I congratulate him,” Hamzah added.

Al-Manar General Manager Ibrahim Farhat said a remaining group of gunmen had hidden in Maaloula and shot at Al-Manar’s two vehicles, which he said were among other media outlets covering ground developments.

During a brief televised news conference, Farhat declined to say whether Al-Manar was a target. “We will not hesitate to offer martyrs for the sake of the profession ... they were carrying out their professional duty in covering events,” he said.

Farhat also said that the bodies of the men were pulled from the scene and that they would be buried Tuesday in Lebanon.

Lebanese officials condemned the killing.

“The assassination of members of media is a coward act,” President Michel Sleiman tweeted.

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun extended his condolences to Al-Manar. “We are all blessed by the martyrdom of the martyrs ... and we share the pains of their families,” Aoun said.

Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil, from Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement, paid his respects to Al-Manar, hailing the job of the station’s staff as “heroic.”

Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi strongly condemned the attack.

Syria’s Information Minister Omran Zoabi said he congratulated Al-Manar for the three martyrs, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.


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