Journalist dies of wounds from blast in Iraq's Mosul

Posted at 8:45 AM, Jun 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-24 08:45:45-04

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A Swiss journalist died Saturday from wounds sustained in a Mosul mine blast earlier this week while reporting on the fight against the Islamic State group.

Veronique Robert died in a Paris hospital Saturday, Sophie Pommier, a French Embassy spokeswoman, told The Associated Press. State-owned France Television said Robert had covered numerous conflicts and expressed its "sincere condolences."

Iraqi Kurdish journalist Bakhtiyar Haddad and French journalist Stephen Villeneuve, who were working with Robert, were also killed in the explosion. Haddad died moments after the blast and Villeneuve died hours later from his wounds.

The fight to retake Iraq's second largest city was launched more than eight months ago, and while Iraqi forces experienced periods of swift gains, fighting inside the city has been slow and deadly for both Iraqi security forces and civilians.

In February, Iraqi Kurdish journalist Shifa Gerdi was killed by a roadside bomb just south of Mosul, which also wounded her colleague, Younis Mustafa. In October, Iraqi television journalist Ali Raysan was killed while covering a battle to retake a small village south of Mosul.

This week, Iraqi forces began to push into Mosul's Old City, where they expect to encounter the toughest fighting yet. Streets shrink to the width of foot paths in the densely populated district, where the United Nations estimates IS fighters are holding some 100,000 civilians as human shields.