Middle East

Dutch journalist Oerlemans shot dead by 'IS sniper' in Libya

Jeroen Oerlemans (left), Shane Bell from the New York Times (middle, pixelated) and John Cantlie (right) outside Hatay Airport in Syria on their way back to London (07 August 2012)
Image caption Oerlemans (left) was abducted and wounded in Syria in 2012 along with British photographer John Cantlie (right)

A Netherlands photojournalist has been shot dead by a sniper apparently belonging to the group known as Islamic State (IS) while reporting on the fighting in the Libyan city of Sirte.

Jeroen Oerlemans, 45, was killed while he was out with a team that clears mines.

He was reporting from a part of the city recently freed from IS control.

Oerlemans was abducted and wounded in Syria in 2012 with British photographer John Cantlie, but freed a week later.

Mr Cantlie was later abducted again, and is believed to remain in IS captivity.

Oerlemans had previously covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya in addition to writing stories about the journey made by migrants to Europe.

He was working in Libya for numerous publications including the Belgian weekly Knack magazine, which confirmed his death.

An announcement on Knack's website said the reporter was shot while on a reporting assignment and that the publication "wishes his family much strength".

Dr Akram Gliwan, spokesman for a hospital in Misrata where pro-government fighters are treated, told AFP news agency that the photographe was "shot in the chest by an IS sniper".

Netherlands Foreign Minister Bert Koenders described Oerlemans as "a journalist who kept going where others stopped".

"[He was] driven to put the news into pictures in the world's hotspots. It is profoundly sad that he has now paid the ultimate price for this," he said.

The coastal city of Sirte was seized by IS in February 2015.

Forces allied with Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord began an offensive against the jihadists in Sirte in May.

Oerlemans is survived by a wife and three small children.