Danger Hits Home for ABC in Baghdad

May 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

In war-torn Baghdad, not even the basic rituals of grief can be safely observed.
When two Iraqi ABC News employees were slain by gunmen earlier this month, those working at the network’s bureau in the violent city could not attend the funerals of the men they considered members of their family for fear of endangering the men’s real families-not to mention putting their own lives in jeopardy.
Instead, the ABC News bureau staffers hung pictures of cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz, 33, and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf, 26, inside their walled compound. And they worked out their emotions with games of badminton.
About three hours after the Iraqi crewmembers left work on the afternoon of Thursday, May 17, came news that they had not arrived home, setting off a tense, all-night vigil.
“It was very tough here,” said Baghdad correspondent Terry McCarthy. When the wait ended Friday morning with the news that Mr. Aziz and Mr. Yousuf had been found dead, he added, “I have never seen so many grown men sobbing.”
The tragedy was a wrenching reminder that “people here live with a considerable amount of risk,” he said, especially Iraqis working for foreign news organizations. They go to great lengths to hide what they do out of fear of becoming targets in the sectarian and insurgent warfare.
Oddly, the grim news that Friday morning began a stretch of relative peace for Mr. McCarthy as he set aside his sadness to focus on the nuts and bolts of reporting the story and wrapping up other details.
“The job took over,” he said.
The rampant violence in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, has made it all but impossible for foreign journalists to move about freely enough to do their jobs as usual. Iraqis “are really our eyes and ears in Iraq,” Mr. McCarthy told TelevisionWeek last week.
That Friday morning, he told “Good Morning America” viewers, “Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out, and without them we are blind, we cannot see what’s going on.”
The deaths brought the number of journalists killed in Iraq since 2003 to 104, making it the deadliest conflict for the media in 25 years, according to data compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The group also said Iraqis account for 83 percent of all media deaths to date in the country.
Mr. McCarthy said the Baghdad bureau had been investigating the ambush slayings “insofar as we are able,” but declined to elaborate on his suggestion that they might have a lead on the gunmen.


  1. Great piece, thanks. Could you explain the first paragraph in a little more detail please?

  2. This is great news! Looking forward to see more.

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  4. Hello. First of all – nice blog! Secondly this information was also good and interesting to read, but I don’t think everything you have said is real truth. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for taking your time to write intresting artciles and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren’t English native speaker.

  5. I am not actually certain if greatest tactics contain emerged about things like that, other than I am certain that your big job is visibly identified. I was thinking if you offer several subscription toward your RSS feeds since I would be extremely concerned.

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