TOBRUK, Libya (AFP) – Miami-based Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle and two Agence France-Presse journalists have been reported missing in Libya while on assignment in that country covering the current political upheaval, the agency said Sunday.
Raedle, 45, a well-known South Florida photographer and a veteran of war coverage around the world, has been missing since Saturday when he traveled into the eastern Tobruk region of Libya along with AFP reporter Dave Clark, 38, and Roberto Schmidt, 45, another photographer.
Clark and Schmidt had informed the agency in an email on Friday of their plans. Raedle was part of the group making the 22 mile trip.
The trio planned on meeting opponents of the regime of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and speaking with refugees fleeing the battles between rebels and the loyalists.
The three journalists have not been heard of since sending the email Friday night.
Raedle, who most recently captured the turmoil in Haiti, has worked with Getty Images as a staff photographer since 2001. He lives in Miami and is married to Nancy San Martin, The Miami Herald’s Interactive Editor. Raedle has photographed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, he captured intense images, such as a Marine reacting to an IED explosion and an injured U.S. Army sergeant trying to fight back in a Baghdad street fight. His lastest photos from Libya, following his arrival there last week, were published internationally.
“This is nervewracking, but I’m confident he’s fine,’’ San Martin said. “We just hope to hear from him soon.’’
Pancho Bernasconi, vice president for U.S. news and sports for Getty Images, said the U.S. State Department has been notified. “I have every hope Joe is well and safe, along with Dave and Roberto.”
Paris-based Clark has been in Libya since March 8 while Schmidt, who normally works out of the Nairobi bureau, arrived in Libya on February 28.
Since the Feb. 15 start of the insurrection against Kadhafi’s regime, a number of foreign journalists have been arrested in Libya. The authorities in Tripoli said they are holding four New York Times journalists after they went missing in the east of the country last Tuesday.
The paper said they were to be freed on Friday but there has been no confirmation that they were indeed released.
On Saturday the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television said that four of its journalists, including a Norwegian and a Briton, are being held in Tripoli after being arrested in Libya’s west.
Al-Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was killed on March 12 in an ambush near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi — the first reported death by a foreign media of a journalist in Libya since the start of the uprising.
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