Veteran AP producer, cameraman in Iraq dies of COVID-19

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This 2003 photo shows Khodeir Majid at the AP office at the Palestine hotel. Majid, who covered Iraq’s numerous conflicts as a video producer and cameraman for the Associated Press over 17 years has died at the age of 64. Relatives said the cause of his death on Friday morning was complications due to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ahmad Sami

BEIRUT (AP) — Khodeir Majid, who covered Iraq’s numerous conflicts as a video producer and cameraman for the Associated Press over 17 years has died, relatives said Friday. He was 64.

The cause of death was complications due to the coronavirus. Majid had been hospitalized for about three weeks, but his condition rapidly deteriorated in the last few days and he died Friday morning.

Majid joined the AP in Baghdad in March 2004, a year after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. He went on to cover the breakdown in security and sectarian bloodbath that prevailed for years, as well as the U.S. occupation, the rise of the al-Qaida terror network, and finally the war against the Islamic State group.

Killings, kidnappings and bombings were an everyday occurrence, sometimes with multiple bombings on the same day.

Through it all, Majid, known as Abu Amjad to family and friends, was a beloved colleague and a calming presence in the Baghdad bureau. He was a dedicated journalist and a good friend to many, working quietly and behind-the-scenes to make sure accreditation and paperwork were secured, badges were collected, interviews were nailed and stories were covered.

“Abu Amjad was a rare source of joy during difficult times working in Baghdad for the past 17 years. He will be remembered as kind and a dedicated professional,” said Ahmed Sami, the AP’s senior producer in Baghdad.

Samya Kullab, the AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, recalled Majid’s dedication and commitment toward getting evasive ministers and officials to grant the AP interviews. “He chased the Transport Ministry for months recently. ‘He keeps saying next week but don’t worry, I will not stop calling’ – such was his dedication to getting the story.”

“I never forget,” he would say.

Kullab and other Baghdad colleagues also recalled his kindness.

“His wife would make these date biscuits he shared with me on one occasion. I mentioned casually that I liked them,” Kullab said. “The next day I had date biscuits to last a month.”

Majid was buried in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Najaf Friday. He is survived by his wife and five children.

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