Weekend Witness - - News -

AMER­I­CAN jour­nal­ists James Fo­ley and Clare Gil­lis phoned Ham­merl’s wife Penny Sukhraj 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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