Photographer Jamal al-Sharaabi of Yemen’s independent weekly Al-Masdar was killed today when security forces in Yemen opened fire on anti-government demonstrators, the Committee to Protect Journalists has reported. Al-Shaarabi was among 44 people killed in the attack by security forces, and was the first confirmed media fatality in since demonstrations against the government began in January, CPJ says.

“This killing comes on the heels of many weeks of increasingly hostile rhetoric and violent reprisals against independent and critical media,” the CPJ says on its Web site.

The CPJ cited local media and the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate as the source of its information.

Security forces reportedly shot at the demonstrators outside the main entrance of Sana’a University. In addition to those killed, several hundred other people were injured, including another photojournalist working for the BBC Arabic service, CPJ says.

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