How Anton Hammerl was killed

2011-05-21 00:00

AMERICAN journalists James Foley and Clare Gillis phoned Hammerl’s wife Penny Sukraj from Djerba, Tunisia, shortly after they arrived there having been freed by the Libyans this week.

They recounted how Hammerl died in an attack on the journalists by Gaddafi forces on April 5.

They and Hammerl, together with Spanish photographer Manu Brabo, were with Libyan rebels on the way to the frontline east of Brega, where they heard Libya troops were dug in nearby.

The journalists decided to get out of the vehicle rather than stay with the rebels as they advanced, but the next moment, the rebels raced back, chased by Gaddafi soldiers in armoured vehicles. From two of the vehicles, about 10 soldiers opened fire with AK47s and the journalists thought they were caught in the crossfire.

However, they soon realised the soldiers were firing at them. They fell to the ground next to the road, Hammerl closest to the soldiers.

Hammerl screamed and Foley asked him if he was alright. Hammerl said he was not. After a third salvo of shots, Hammerl was silent and Foley leapt up and shouted that they were journalists. A soldier hit him in the face with a gun butt. Brabo and Gillis were also hit, and they were bound with electric cables and taken away.

Before they left, Foley saw that Hammerl’s motionless body, bleeding severely from a stomach wound, was being left in the desert.

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