BEIRUT: Lebanese national Hanna Lahoud was shot and killed over the weekend while on duty in Yemen’s Taiz with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Lahoud and some of his colleagues were attacked when they stopped at a supermarket, a relative of Lahoud told The Daily Star.
“He was on his way to visit a prison ... when the ICRC vehicle he was traveling in was attacked by unknown armed men on the outskirts of Taiz. Mr. Lahoud was rushed to the hospital where he died as a result of his injuries,” a statement from the ICRC said. His colleagues were unharmed in the incident.
Yemeni officials said an investigation would be opened on the incident, a statement from the Ministry of Local Administration said.
Lahoud was in charge of the ICRC’s detention program in Yemen.
Al-Dabab, where Lahoud was killed, is controlled by Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi’s government.
“We condemn this brutal and apparently deliberate attack on a dedicated humanitarian worker,” ICRC’s Middle East Director Robert Mardini said in the statement.
“We are all in shock. Hanna was a young man full of life and was widely known and liked. Nothing can justify Hanna’s murder and we are in deep mourning for our dear friend and colleague. Our hearts and thoughts are with Hanna’s loved ones and friends,” he added.
Due to the violence in Yemen, it is difficult for the body to be returned to Lebanon. Relatives have said the body could arrive in Lebanon Monday morning or evening at the latest. A source from the Lebanese Foreign Ministry was unable to provide further details as of Sunday.
Lahoud, a native of Chouf’s Brih, has worked for the ICRC since 2010.
Two years ago overcame his battle with cancer, but insisted on working in the field despite the illness. “His doctors originally said he couldn’t go out in the field and he could have been stationed in Geneva,” his cousins told The Daily Star.
Lahoud got married two-years-ago and after his post in Yemen was completed he planned on settling down in Europe with his wife, who is currently working with ICRC in Afghanistan. The ICRC employee was one of eight siblings – five boys and three girls. One of his brothers previously died in an accident.
“Maybe God didn’t want him to die from cancer, but rather as a hero,” his cousin said.
Local and international leaders mourned Lahoud’s death over the weekend. President Michel Aoun said on his private Twitter account, “He committed himself and his life to save others, wherever they were.”
The United Nations also condemned the “unjustified” killing of Lahoud. “Parties to the conflict are obliged under international humanitarian law to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have the assistance they need to survive,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, said.
U.K. Minister of State for the Middle East and International Development Alistair Burt tweeted, “I am saddened to hear of the death of @ICRC_ye aid worker Hanna Lahoud in Yemen. Aid workers like Hanna provide vital support to those who suffer most in humanitarian crises. My deepest condolences to his family and colleagues at this tragic time.”
This article was amended on Monday, April 23 2018
In its Monday edition, The Daily Star incorrectly stated that Hanna Lahoud was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.
In fact, Lahoud overcame his battle with cancer two years ago. The Daily Star regrets this error.