Egyptian Reporter Killed at Checkpoint

CAIRO (AP) -
In this July 5 file photo, journalists film an Egyptian military attack  helicopter as it flies by the Presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian journalist shot to death by soldiers at a checkpoint raises to 5 the number of journalists killed in the past week across Egypt.  (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
In this July 5 file photo, journalists film an Egyptian military attack helicopter as it flies by the Presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian journalist shot to death by soldiers at a checkpoint raises to 5 the number of journalists killed in the past week across Egypt. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Soldiers killed an Egyptian journalist working for the country’s state-run flagship daily newspaper at a military checkpoint, security officials said Tuesday.

Tamer Abdel-Raouf’s death brings to five the number of journalists who have died in the past week of violence in Egypt.

The military initially said that Abdel-Raouf from the newspaper Al-Ahram sped through a checkpoint Monday evening after a nighttime curfew began, and that soldiers fired warning shots before shooting at the car. It said the military did not deliberately shoot to kill.

However, Shaimaa Abu Elkhir of the Committee to Protect Journalists quoted a witness who was in the car with Abdel-Raouf as saying there were no warning shots and the incident took place an hour before the 7 p.m. start of the military-imposed curfew on Monday.

Hamed al-Barbari of the newspaper Al-Gomhuria told the media watchdog group that they were turned back by soldiers at the checkpoint and told they could not pass. The soldiers then fired at the car as they were making a U-turn, al-Barbari said. Abdel-Raouf was shot in the head and the car then hit a light post. Al-Barbari was injured in the collision, according to CPJ.

The shot “was targeted at his head, but it is not clear why,” Abu Elkhir said. “If they car wanted to stop the car, they could have fired at the tires.”

The two journalists had just finished a meeting with the recently appointed governor of Beheira province, northwest of Cairo.

Earlier, security officials had said the two presented their press cards and national identity cards to soldiers at the checkpoint before the driver sped off. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders urged the military to respect rules of curfew in force that exempt health professionals and journalists and allow them to freely move at night. However, many journalists have complained that the armed forces and police are not respecting this exemption.