Egyptian Photographer May Have Captured His Own Death During Protests

Dashiell Bennett

Among the 51 people killed by Egyptian security forces on Monday was a newspaper photographer whose video of the firefight has become an iconic symbol of the ongoing protests—and possibly a record of his own death. Even more chilling than the sight of a solider shooting at crowds from a nearby rooftop is ending of the video, where the solider appears to aim directly at the camera just before the video abrpublty ends, allegedly when he shot the man behind it.

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A brief two-minute clip of the violence was posted on YouTube and included in our report about the violent attack, but according to The Telegraph, a longer 20-minute video was recorded by Ahmed Samir Assem, a 26-year-old photographer for an Egyptian newspaper. He was on the scene covering the large sit-in by Muslim Brotherhood supporters when the violence broke out. In a brief clip posted on Assem Facebook page and elsewhere, the sniper turns directly toward the camera before the image goes dark and the clip ends.

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According to The Telegraph, those final images could not be independently verified as the moment of his death, but Assem was among those killed in the assault and there were numerous witnesses who saw snipers on nearby roofs. 

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Despite the fact the 51 people killed were almost all member of the Muslim Brotherhood party, the army blames the group for starting the violence by attacking soliders outside the Republican Guard headquarters. They have produced their own video that shows demonstrators firing on soliders, though it still unclear which group may have fired first. However, on Wednesday morning, an Egyptian prosecutor ordered the arrest of several Mulsim Brotherhood leaders on the charge of "inciting violence" before and after Monday's incident. An MB spokesperson said the accused leaders have not been arrested, and this is merely an attempt by the government to breakup an otherwise peaceful protest.