Two award-winning photojournalists were killed Wednesday in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, and two Western colleagues were wounded while covering battles between rebels and government forces.
British-born Tim Hetherington, an Oscar-nominated film director and war photographer, was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on Tripoli Street, the main thoroughfare and the focus of fighting in Misrata. The only rebel-held city in western Libya has come under weeks of relentless shelling by forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Chris Hondros, an American working for Getty Images, died a few hours later of severe brain trauma. His awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography.
Two other photographers - Guy Martin and Michael Brown - suffered shrapnel wounds from the blast. Martin's condition is serious but he is said to be improving after surgery, while Brown's injuries are light.
The acclaimed 41-year-old Hetherington co-directed the 2010 documentary Restrepo about U.S. soldiers at an outpost in Afghanistan.
A brief statement released by Hetherington's family said he was in Libya "to continue his ongoing media project to highlight humanitarian issues during times of war and conflict." The White House on Wednesday urged Libyan leaders and all governments across the world to protect journalists "who give a voice to those who would not otherwise be heard."
Hondros, also 41, has covered conflict zones since the late 1990s, including Kosovo, Angola, Iraq and Afghanistan. His work in Liberia earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says two other journalists have been killed in the Libyan conflict.
An unknown gunman killed Mohammed al-Nabbous, founder of the online Libya Al-Hurra TV, as he was streaming live audio from a battle in Benghazi on March 19. Cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was shot when his al-Jazeera television crew was ambushed near Benghazi earlier in March.
CPJ says three international media workers and at least six Libyan journalists are missing and suspected to be held by pro-Gadhafi forces.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.