ISIL sniper fire blamed for the death of Dutch Journalist

TVC E. ISIL sniper fire blamed for death of Jeroen Oerlemans while covering government offensive against the group in Sirte.

Prominent Dutch journalist Jeroen Oerlemans has been killed covering a government offensive against ISIL in the group’s Libyan stronghold of Sirte, a city 450km east of Tripoli.

Dr Akram Gliwan, spokesman for a hospital in Misrata where pro-government fighters are treated, told the AFP news agency that Oerlemans, a photographer, was shot in the chest by an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group sniper.

Gliwan said his body had been transferred to Misrata, 200km west of Sirte.

Oerlemans was working in Libya for a number of organisations, including the Belgian weekly Knack magazine, which confirmed his death on Sunday.

A message on Knack’s website said Oerlemans was shot on a reporting assignment and that the publication “wishes his family much strength”.

Hundreds of people also took to social media to remember the well-respected journalist, to share his work, and to offer condolences to his family.

“Your photographs of Sirte, Libya and other places will live on forever,” the Dutch ambassador to Libya, Eric Strating, said on Twitter. “Thank you for shining your light on the misery of others.”

“Rest in peace Jeroen Oerlemans,” Yvette van Eechoud, director of European and International Affairs at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs, tweeted. “Thank you for shining your light on the misery of others.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 11 other journalists and one media worker have been killed in Libya since 1992, when CPJ began keeping records. All but one of those deaths happened since the 2011 war against former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“Journalists have recently begun returning in greater numbers to Libya to cover the conflict and political upheaval but it remains an extraordinarily dangerous place,” Robert Mahoney, the deputy executive director of CPJ, said.

“The death of Jeroen Oerlemans is a reminder that those who bring us images and video from the frontlines often pay the heaviest price.”

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