Al-Manar Reporter Hajj Hassan Killed with Cameraman, Technician in Maalulaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
An al-Manar television crew came under gunfire Monday during its coverage of the Syrian army's recapture of the Christian town of Maalula from rebel hands, which resulted in the death of the reporter Hamza al-Hajj Hassan along with a cameraman and a technician.
Al-Manar said 27-year-old Hajj Hassan and his two colleagues -- cameraman Mohammed Mantash and technician Halim Allaw -- were killed when "armed groups" opened fire at their convoy in Maalula.
Two other members of the crew were wounded in the attack, al-Manar added.
The TV network, which is owned by Hizbullah, noted that the cars of its team were clearly marked with press signs.
“With the bless of the martyrs' blood and the vigor of heroic fighters, we will sleep tonight at the al-Safir Hotel in Maalula,” Hajj Hassan wrote on his Facebook page hours before his death on Monday.
Al-Manar General Manager Ibrahim Farhat mourned the slain crew during a press conference, stressing that the TV network will continue its coverage of the conflict in Syria regardless of “the sacrifices.”
Earlier on Monday, Syrian troops retook the ancient Christian town of Maalula from rebel hands.
"The army has taken full control of Maalula and restored security and stability. Terrorism has been defeated in Qalamun," a security official told Agence France Presse, referring to the region in which Maalula is located.
An AFP journalist in Maalula said the al-Safir Hotel, which rebels had been using as a base, was almost completely destroyed.
The instrumental assistance of Hizbullah -- which has sent thousands of fighters into Syria -- has helped Syrian forces recapture most towns in the Qalamoun and Qusayr regions near the border with Lebanon.