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‘Some saw a flash. All I saw were my things flying across the room’ ‘“Yasser” was the first thing that I heard Haider say. “Where is Yasser?” Haider and Yasser, two brothers, have worked for The Times since the invasion in 2003. I had sent Yasser on an errand and he was due back soon.’
No-one reading yesterday’s dispatch from The Times Baghdad bureau chief could have failed to get caught up in the search for Yasser. The paper’s driver was missing following a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital. When I opened my paper this morning it was the first story I looked for, but there was no happy ending. Instead the papers editor, James Harding paid tribute to a brave and generous colleague.
The foreign editor Richard Beeston goes behind the story to explain the key role that fixers play in enabling Western news organisation to report the news. Beeston spotlights the “heroic service of a small, dedicated army of Iraqis — drivers, fixers and translators. With little or no experience of reporting, they are ready to risk their lives every day to get the news”.
Yasser was just one of 36 Iraqis killed and 80 wounded in the three co-ordinated bomb blasts in Baghdad on 25 January. The New York Times At War blog also pays tribute.