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Rudaw

Kurdistan

UPDATED: Kurdish journalist Shifa Gardi died chasing a lead on an ISIS mass grave

By Rudaw 26/2/2017
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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — As reactions and condolences to death of the Kurdish journalist Shifa Gardi continued to pour in, people with the 30-year-old Rudaw reporter and anchor in her last moments recounted the fatal explosion on Saturday afternoon.

 

As Gardi was getting comments from a Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi commander beside a huge hole where ISIS militants were said to have dumped the bodies of people they had killed, the commander’s feet happened to wrap in a wire, leading to the denotation of a bomb, killing Gardi, the commander and four other fighters. Rudaw cameraman Younis Mustafa and seven other fighters were wounded.


Gardi had wanted to show the large and deep hole called Mosul’s Valley of Death wherein ISIS had reportedly thrown hundreds of people.

This valley near the village of Al Athba, 20 kilometers south of Mosul and five kilometers from the main Baghdad-Mosul road, has become a symbol of ISIS’ horrific actions.


Ranja Jamal, another Rudaw reporter who was also in Mosul when Gardi died explained that she had been given information regarding the valley but was not able to find it. On her way back, she came across a Hashd al-Shaabi force, and asked them about the place. They told her that they knew about the place and guided her to the spot.


This incident happened at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Younis was hospitalized in Erbil.

 

Rudaw released a statement on Sunday, and published condolences from Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.


Gardi was reporting on the war on Sunday in different parts of western half of Mosul where Iraqi forces have launched a fresh offensive about a week ago to reclaim the last major stronghold of the ISIS group.

“Five buses, fraught with people, including a majority of women and children have run away,” she said, “Their situation is miserable and have left everything,” said added aboard one such bus.
 
“There were only women and children with some men and juveniles. After they undergo investigations making sure that they have not helped ISIS militants, they will be allowed to take shelter at refugee camps.”

She was presenting a daily special program on the Mosul offensive on Rudaw TV, and has recently started to cover the unfolding war from inside Mosul.

Shifa Zikri Ibrahim, also known as Shifa Gardi, was born a refugee in Iran on 1 July 1986. She was a graduate of the media department from Salahaddin University in Erbil. She started her media career in 2006, and joined Rudaw Media Network since the beginning of its foundation. 

 

 

Reactions and condolences


Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian Minister for international development, while visiting Erbil to see Kurdish progress that has been made in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region and in the whole region spoke to a Rudaw reporter about the death of Gardi.

 

 “We are very touched, I extend my deepest condolences and those from all Canadians…” Bibeau said.

 

 

Dr. Najmaldin Karim, the governor of Kirkuk, expressed his thoughts:


  • "Unfortunately, we heard of the saddening martyrdom of the active and brave female journalist Shifa Gardi.

    "Hereby, we send or deep condolences to the family and you channel’s (Rudaw) employees, one by one and may the almighty God rest Miss Shifa Gardi in peace and give patience to her relatives and friends and grant a healing to cameraman Younis Mustafa.

    "We belong to Allah and to him we should return."


Falah Mustafa, head of Department of Foreign Relations of Kurdistan Regional Government described Gardi as a "role model to young women" in Kurdistan Region.

 

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG's representative to the USA, herself a former journalist, said Kurdistan "has ost a courageous and professional journalist who cracked the glass ceiling," in reference to the work of the female journalist in a male-dominated profession in Kurdistan. 

Bayan Sami Rahman (@BayanRahman)

 

 

The Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said "She joins a list of irreplaceable people lost in this war."

Kosrat Rasul, the first deputy leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and also a Peshmerga commander, said  that she was covering the war against the extrimist group alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and the Iraqi security forces. 

“It is very saddening to hear the death of Rudaw Media Network’s presenter and journalist on the frontlines of the war in Mosul," Rasul said,  "Ms Shifa Gardi who had an important role alongside her fellow citizens in the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army in war on terror.”

 

Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) leader Salahaddin Bahadin sent his condolences to Rudaw Media Network and Shifa Gardi’s family. 

“In light of the martyrdom of brave and Peshmerga journalist Shifa Gardi, I pass my condolences to her dear family and Rudaw Media Network’s coworkers and audiences.  May Almighty God forgive her and rest her in peace,” said Bahaddin in his message.”

 

The deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament Aram Sheikh Mohammed also conveyed his condolences.

 

The UK Ambassador to Iraq: 

 

The US Ambassador to Iraq:

 

The US Special Presidential Envoy to the coalition to defeat ISIS:

 

Media agencies and journalists from around the world reported on Shifa's death, including those shown in this collage.

 

 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that journalists like Shifa Gardi and her cameraman Younis Mustafa "have shown remarkable bravery and commitment to their work."

"Shifa Gardi's tragic death underscores the continuing risk that journalists in Iraq face while doing their jobs," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. 

"Journalists covering Iraq, and particularly those covering the ongoing conflict between the Iraqi government and the Islamic State group, have shown remarkable bravery and commitment to their work, and all sides in the conflict should honor that commitment by ensuring that they can do their jobs safely," Mahoney noted. 

The CPJ stated that the death of Gardi is Iraq's first recorded case of a journalist's killing in 2017. Last year, at least six journalists were confirmed killed in Iraq, it added.

 

Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate and Metro Center, an advocate for the rights of journalists, expressed their condolences, with Metro saying that it was the death of talented journalist whose place is very hard to be filled. 

 

BBC Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, who covered the fresh offensive in western Mosul extensively, showed his appreciation of Rudaw for what he described as "determined". 

Rukmini Callimachi, correspondent for The New York Times, celebrated the fact that Gardi was among the very few female journalists covering the war in an otherwise male-dominated area.

 

The Erbil-based Kurdistan 24 media network said in a statement that "We pass on our condolences to the family and colleagues of Shifa Gardi, wish recovery to the wounded, and safety to all media teams."

 

The Sulaimani-based  Nalia Radio and Television NRT said they share the grivances with Rudaw, wishing a quick recovery to Rudaw's injured cameraman.

 

“We are saddened by the death of Rudaw’s young and skillful journalist, Shifa Gardi.”

 

The UK consulate in Erbil described Gardi as "a young and skillful journalist."

 

Kosrat Rasul, the first deputy leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and also a Peshmerga commander, said  that she was covering the war against the extrimist group alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and the Iraqi security forces. 

 

“It is very saddening to hear the death of Rudaw Media Network’s presenter and journalist on the frontlines of the war in Mosul," Rasul said,  "Ms Shifa Gardi who had an important role alongside her fellow citizens in the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army in war on terror.”

 

Rudaw also received messages of support and condolences from  the following Kurdish media outlets: SNN, Xalk, Kurdistan TV, Zang, Kurdistan Nwe, Xendan, Speda TV, PUK Media, Chawder News, Komal, and Gorran media.

 

Dozens of Kurdish parties, senior officials, and Peshmerga commanders also issued statements for the death of a young talent. 

 

People and Rudaw staff members bid Gardi farewell on Saturday night.

 


A memorial service for Gardi at the Rudaw Media Network office in Washington, DC, will be held at 10 a.m. (local time) on Sunday.


Comments

 
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Dr. Saman Shali | 26/2/2017
Shifa was not just a reporter but a sample of bravery of Kurdish women and free media in Kurdistan Dr. Saman Shali
Givo | 26/2/2017
RIP.
KPatriot | 26/2/2017
Sad. May she rest in peace.
Me | 26/2/2017
Sad heartbreaking news, but she is no less honored than any peshmarga.
Patrick C | 26/2/2017
Condolences to her family and friends at rudaw. This beautiful courageous woman will be mourned all over the world. Respect from Ireland.
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