Sunday Times has used its “emergency evacuation procedure” to withdraw award-winning corrspondent Hala Jaber from Iraq.
The emergency measures were taken after a “trusted” contact told Jaber that she was on a death list and was intended to be the next “Atwar Bahjat”. This was a reference to the Arab female journalist, a friend of Jaber, who was kidnapped and murdered by a death squad in February.
Jaber’s Arab fixer and her photographer husband Steve Bent were also subject to the same threats.
Jaber reported in the Sunday Times yesterday that she emailed her foreign editor and told him she did not want to die like Atwar.
Because there were no more flights that day the Sunday Times decided to invoke its emergency evacuation procedure and Jaber said that within one hour 10 former Royal Marines led by an ex-Special Boat Service officer arrived in three cars.
The three were taken into the safety of the Green Zone before flying out of Iraq by private plane on Thursday.
Jaber wrote: “We were lucky to have had a system in place that could answer our wishes. I felt sorry for those who did not…”.
Meanwhile, Jaber’s Sunday Times colleague Christina Lamb came under heavy fire while embedded with the Paras in Afghansitan. She reported that the situation became so severe that she was told she might have to use a gun herself.