Algerian journalist struck by IS sniper-fire in coma

Algerian journalist struck by IS sniper-fire in coma
Samira Mouaki, a journalist with Algerian daily Echourouk was shot in the head on Sunday while embedded with Popular Mobilisation Units in Tal Afar close to Mosul.
2 min read
14 February, 2017
Mouaki was transferred to Baghdad by plane following the attack [Twitter]

An Algerian journalist remains in a coma after being shot by an Islamic State group sniper late on Sunday while covering advances by Iraqi forces on the contested city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Samira Mouaki, a journalist with Echourouk, was critically injured in the attack near Tal Afar, west of Mosul.

The Iraqi government has offered to pay for the flights of members of the journalist’s family from Algeria to Iraq to be with her, according to reports in Rudaw.

Mouaki was embedded with Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) forces at the time of the attack, and in its aftermath was transported by plane to a hospital in Baghdad for treatment.

On Tuesday the PMU's official Twitter feed posted a tweet stating Mouaki was in a "stable condition" adding that although the Algerian reporter was injured while reporting with its forces it remained "proud to oversee [the] protection of journalists".

On Sunday IS militants launched a large-scale attack on Tal Afar with the intention of regaining control of a major road connecting Mosul with the extremist group’s de facto capital Raqqa, located on the banks of the Euphrates, across the border in Syria.

Tributes and heartfelt messages praising Echourouk’s work, bravery, commitment to her profession have been expressed by colleagues and fellow journalists on social media, and elsewhere.

In one message, Daniele Pagani, an Italian journalist who met Echourouk while covering the liberation of Nimrud in November 2016, praised the Algerian journalist for her no-nonsense attitude towards her profession.

“When they say destroying gender biases is a process which starts primarily with ourselves, they are absolutely correct. When they further say that the major problem lies on the men's side, they are again correct,” wrote Pagani.

“I looked at Samira and immediately felt an enormous respect for her courage. She was on the field, no SUV, no expensive camera. She was just there, doing her job without making a fuss.”

To date at least two journalists – one Iraqi, one Turkish – have been killed covering the battle for Mosul.

Iraqi forces have taken control of the east of the city, with IS forces encamped in the east of the city. Advances by Iraqi forces into Mosul in recent weeks have resulted in attempts by increasingly desperate IS militants to perpetrate attacks behind enemy lines.