Saeed Chmagh

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Saeed Chmagh
Journalist Saeed Chmagh.jpg
Saeed Chmagh, killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, July 2007
Born(1967-01-01)January 1, 1967
Died(2007-07-12)July 12, 2007 (aged 40)
Baghdad, Iraq
Cause of death30 mm armor-piercing shell
Occupationdriver and camera assistant

Saeed Chmagh (Arabic: سعيد شماغ‎) (January 1, 1967 – July 12, 2007)[1] was an Iraqi employed by Reuters news agency as a driver and camera assistant.[1][2] He was killed,[3] along with his colleague Namir Noor-Eldeen[4] by American military forces in the New Baghdad district of Baghdad, Iraq, during an airstrike on July 12, 2007.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Life and career[edit]

Chmagh was born January 1, 1967, in Iraq.[9] He joined Reuters before the United States-led invasion in 2003. With 4 children of his own,[1] he financially supported his family and another three through his work.[2] Chmagh also supported his sister's family after insurgents killed her husband.[2]
Chris Helgren, then Reuters' chief photographer in the region, launched a plan to employ and train Iraqis, with more local knowledge and access to areas now perilous for Westerners.[2] Helgren said: "There are few 'good news' stories to be had in this war and wars by definition are tales of violence. And to get there, drivers like Saeed Chmagh are indispensable." "Saeed had a reputation of being fiercely loyal and appeared fearless to me. If you ever needed to get quickly to a dangerous area, passing chicanes of barbed wire and boobytraps, Saeed was your man. But he also had a very quiet, loving side and spoke often of his kids."[2]

Airstrike and death[edit]

On July 12, 2007, after several skirmishes in the area, two American AH-64 Apache helicopters observed a group of people milling around on a street in Baghdad. Believing the group to be the armed Iraqi insurgents who earlier engaged US soldiers nearby, the Apache fired on them.[4][7][10] About 5 minutes later an unmarked black van arrived, owned by a man who was taking his son to school. Two other men arrived and assisted the severely-injured Chmagh (who was at that moment engaged in dragging himself over the ground in order to reach cover) and carried him to the van. The observing helicopter crews requested and received permission to engage, and opened fire on the van and its occupants. Two young children in the van were severely wounded by the shooting.[11] Chmagh, and Reuters photojournalist, his long-time friend Namir Noor-Eldeen,[2][6] were among those killed in the attacks.[7] Chmagh was 40 years old at the time of his death.[5] Chmagh and Noor-Eldeen were the fifth and sixth Reuters employees killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion began.[12] The Army's report includes pictures of what are claimed to be weapons found near the bodies at the scene.[7] After their deaths, Reuters screened a photographic tribute to Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh in New York City's Times Square and London's Canary Wharf.[5] The shootings, Chmaghs death, and Noor-Eldeen's death are detailed in The Good Soldiers, a 2009 non-fiction book by David Finkel.[4]

Video release[edit]

For more than three years after the shooting, Reuters and other organizations sought probes into the deaths of Noor-Eldeen and other journalists killed in Iraq, but the U.S. military withheld key information on the grounds that it was classified. The military also refused to release a video taken from one of the gunships that captured the complete sequence and radio communication during the shootings. On April 5, 2010, the video was released on the website WikiLeaks, which said it acquired the video from military whistle-blowers and viewed it after breaking the encryption code.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh". The Baron. Retrieved 2010-04-06. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Booth, Jenny (2010-04-06). "Profiles: Iraq journalists killed by US gunships". Times Online. Retrieved 2010-04-06. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Photographer killed in Iraq". British Journal of Photography. July 18, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d Tyson, Ann Scott (September 15, 2009). "Military's Killing of 2 Journalists in Iraq Detailed in New book". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c Kiss, Jemima (July 12, 2007). "Reuters staff killed in Iraq". The Guardian. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Rubin, Alissa J. (July 13, 2007). "2 Iraqi Journalists Killed as U.S. Forces Clash With Militias". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c d e Bumiller, Elisabeth (April 5, 2010). "Video Shows American Killing of Photographer". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Franke-Ruta, Garance (April 5, 2010). "Web site releases video of Baghdad attack that killed 2 journalists". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Booth, Jenny (6 April 2010). "Profiles: Iraq journalists killed by US gunships". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  10. ^ McGreal, Chris (April 5, 2010). "Wikileaks reveals video showing US air crew shooting down Iraqi civilians". The Guardian. Retrieved April 5, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Goodman, Amy (2010-04-06). "Massacre Caught on Tape: US Military Confirms Authenticity of Their Own Chilling Video Showing Killing of Journalists". Democracy Now. Retrieved 2010-04-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Iraqi doctor working for Danish NGO killed". The Peninsula. July 13, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°18′49″N 44°30′43″E / 33.3137°N 44.512°E / 33.3137; 44.512 (Airstrike of 2007-07-12)