Yemen journalist killed in explosion

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Khalida Mohammed, known for exposing abuses in military court system, has been killed in Aden

A pregnant journalist has been killed in an explosion in Yemen’s second city, Aden, local officials and residents said on Sunday.

Elias Hussein, a spokesman for the local chapter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), confirmed the death of Khalida Mohammed, a well-known journalist, said she had been killed by a booby trap explosion on Saturday.

Mohammed, 30, was in her car on her way home when she died, Hussein told the Guardian. The car caught fire after the explosion, and Mohammed and her two-year-old son were left for dead. Her father-in-law managed to escape.

“There are a lot of explosives in this car, so many that everyone thought she would die in the explosion, but she was going home from work and the car caught fire,” Hussein said.

Yemen’s civil war between government forces and Houthi rebels has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 2.5 million since 2015.

The war has only increased a widespread antipathy towards reporters. Efforts by independent media outlets to keep up with the news have been severely hampered by an intensified Saudi-led bombing campaign in recent months.

In May, an airstrike killed three-year-old Ali Rifqa, a toddler from Dahiyat Deba, Yemen’s poorest province. Rifqa’s family and local human rights activists blamed Saudi Arabia, which has claimed responsibility for the attack.

But Hamid al-Dosaari, the governor of the province, claimed that the bomber was intended to carry out the attack but changed his plans in order to escape his suicide mission.

Rida Saleh, a reporter with the independent newspaper Masira, said there was a lack of public confidence in independent media. “They believe what the [state news agency] Saba says about what is happening in Yemen, they can’t trust anyone but Saba,” she said.

Abdel Malik Hussein, governor of al-Dhaleer province in south-eastern Yemen, said the proliferation of media centres, which serve as office spaces for independent media, had reduced the responsibility for journalists and made reporters more vulnerable.

“Journalists who try to do their jobs are badly treated. If you get into trouble, the Saudi government will come and help you.”

According to figures from the UK-based Committee to Protect Journalists, 59 journalists and media workers have been killed in the Yemen conflict, and nearly 180 injured.

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