Malaysian journalist killed in Lebanon

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PETALING JAYA (Feb 3): A Malaysian journalist was killed in Lebanon in what appears to be a mishap.

Claudia Theophilus, a web producer with Doha-based Al Jazeera English, was killed when she was struck by a stray bullet at Baakleen, located in a mountainous area in Lebanon, Bernama reported.

Claudia, 42, sustained the gunshot wound while she and her colleagues were apparently playing with several guns.

She died on the spot about 2.30am local time, the report said. A Wisma Putra officer confirmed Claudia's death when contacted by fz.com.

He said Claudia's family has been informed about the unfortunate incident. However, he refused to give details about her death.

Malaysia's ambassador in Lebanon, Ilango Karuppannan, said an initial police report did not indicate any criminal element in the incident.

He told Bernama that Claudia's body would be sent home after forensic and post-mortem procedures were carried out.

Karuppannan said the journalist was visiting Baakleen with two Lebanese colleagues at the time of the incident.

A spokesman for Al-Jazeera told Doha News that Claudia was on a holiday and not on assignment.

Many of her colleagues in Doha are still reeling after hearing news of the tragedy, and are searching for answers.

"Everyone is speechless," one AJE employee told Doha News.

In a statement late today, Claudia's sister, Dora, said the family were informed by Wisma Putra about the death this afternoon.

"We are now making plans for me to fly to Lebanon to bring her home. The family thanks friends for their kind thoughts," she said.

Claudia had previously worked with The Sun newspaper and news portal Malaysiakini.

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