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UAE-based reporter shot dead in Egypt

Muaz Shabandri (Reporter) Filed on August 16, 2013

A 26-year-old UAE-based journalist, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, was shot dead in Cairo early on Wednesday morning and friends and family who described her as “a kind and passionate soul” have been left “shocked” by the tragic loss.

UAE-based reporter shot dead in Egypt (/assets/oldimages/journalist1408.jpg)

Egyptian-born Habiba was killed while she was on annual leave, and hours before her untimely death she sent a message to her mother asking her to “pray” for her.

Habiba was shot at the Rabaa Al Adawiya Square in Cairo when troops stormed pro-Mursi camps, family said. Her younger sister, Arwa Ramadan expressed deep shock on hearing the news as her family was prepared to fly back to Cairo for the burial. Habiba worked as the court and crime reporter for Dubai-based weekly newspaper Xpress.

“My father is already in Cairo and he has seen the body. She had just gone there for her holiday and we never expected this would happen,” said Arwa.

Habiba’s last contact with her family was on Facebook as she kept updating her mother Sabreen Mangud about the turn of events.

“Please pray for me mother,” said Habiba in her parting lines with her mother as she confirmed the alert was at an ‘all-time high’ and her body was trembling.

Her mother replied: “My daughter I leave you to God who never ignores and never sleeps.”

The news of her death sent shock waves across the Egyptian community in the UAE as friends and colleagues mourned her death. Colleagues at the newspaper where she worked remembered her as a wonderful person who was kind-hearted, gentle and always smiling.

Xpress deputy editor Mazhar Farooqui said: “It’s a very sad day in the newsroom. We are a small close-knit team who are used to seeing each other. It is very hard to believe she will never be back.”

An alumnus of the American University of Sharjah (AUS), one of her professors remembered her as a ‘talented young woman’ with a bright future. Harrais Breslo, an associate professor at the Department of Mass Communication at AUS said: “Habiba was an extremely intelligent young student who was very popular among the faculty and students...She had a huge future ahead of herself and she is among the few students who would be remembered for a long time to come.”

The student community at her university was grieving her death and condolence messages poured in on her Facebook page.

Kinan Jarjous posted: “Looking through the love letters from her friends on her Facebook wall, and her image all over the news, shows us what one soul means to the world. One soul, hundred and upon hundreds of messages. So many lives all connected. So much grief.”

Another friend, Lina Al-Amoudi wrote: “Deeply saddened by the loss of a kind and passionate soul. May Allah give her family the strength and patience to forbear.”

Mick Deane, a 61-year old Sky News cameraman was also killed on Wednesday. According to an AFP report, security forces stormed two huge Cairo protest camps occupied for weeks by supporters of Egypt’s ousted President.


Muaz Shabandri

Education reporter at Khaleej Times. Dabbles with technology, photography and design in free time. Talk to me food, education and good stories!

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