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Kurdish, French journalists killed in Mosul

A picture taken from the inside of an Iraqi forces armoured vehicle shows residents walking through a damaged street as troops advance towards Mosul's Old City where the UN says tens of thousands of civilians are trapped
MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (AFP)
Iraqi forces launched an operation Sunday to retake the district, the last part of Iraq's second city IS-held

Two journalists were killed, French journalist Stephan Villeneuve and Iraqi journalist Bakhtiyar Haddad, after a mine exploded in Mosul, the head of the news department at public broadcaster France Televisions said Tuesday.

Two other French journalists were injured in the explosion Monday in Iraq's second city, according to France Televisions and global journalist rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

"The management and staff at France Televisions sympathize with the pain of his partner Sophie, his four children, his family and all those he was close to. They offer their most sincere condolences," the head of the news department said in a statement.

A video journalist who had covered a number of conflicts across the world, Villeneuve was filming a piece together with Veronique Robert on the battle of Mosul for French news program Envoye Special, aired on public television channel France 2.

They were both taken to a hospital on a US military base following the explosion.

Reporter Samuel Forey, who worked for a number of French media organisations including French daily Le Figaro, also suffered light injuries.

"I am very sad for Bakhtiyar and my colleagues, I ask you to not contact me for a couple of days," he wrote on Twitter.

The journalists were accompanying Iraqi special forces during the battle to reconquer Mosul from the Islamic State (EI) group, where some 100,000 civilians are being used as "human shields" by jihadists, according to the UN.

Iraqi forces launched the operation Sunday to retake the district, the last part of Iraq's second city still held by IS after a months-long offensive.

Commanders say the jihadists are putting up fierce resistance and there are fears for more than 100,000 civilians believed to be trapped in the maze of narrow streets.

(Staff with agencies)

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