Beirut (AFP) – A Syrian photojournalist known for his picture of bikers on a badly damaged bridge was killed when an army rocket attack erupted while he was cycling, a colleague said Monday.
Murhaf al-Mohdi, who also went by the pseudonym Abo Shuja, had contributed photographs to AFP.
He was cycling back on Saturday from a visit to his parents when regime troops started firing rockets on a neighbourhood of the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, a journalist colleague said.
One rocket hit a building nearby, and the impact threw Mohdi and the camera he was holding off his bike.
"A second rocket then hit the street he was on, and he was hit by three pieces of shrapnel. One hit him in his right hand, one pierced his lungs and a third stayed in his abdomen," said his colleague.
"He was taken to a field hospital, but by the time they arrived he was already dead, unfortunately," he added.
Mohdi, aged 26, was a native of Deir Ezzor, which is divided into regime and rebel-held neighbourhoods.
His best-known shot shows a rebel fighter and a child crossing a badly damaged bridge on a motorbike in Deir Ezzor, located on the Euphrates river.
Mohdi's friend described him as "a dreamer" and "a very, very kind person."
He also said Mohdi started taking photographs three months into Syria's revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
Though he only had a small camera to begin with, his wish to develop his skills led him to seek training by international organisations, including AFP.
AFP's photography director for the Middle East and North Africa Patrick Baz said he had trained Mohdi in June, and that "he had made huge progress."
Mohdi "was part of this new generation of Syrian photojournalists" born of the country's brutal conflict, Baz added.
International press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) describes Syria as the world's most dangerous country for journalists to work in.
It says that 25 journalists have been killed there, as have 26 citizen journalists, since March 2011 when the Syrian revolt began.