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Jeremy Bowen
Jeremy Bowen, clad in flak jacket more often than not and with a host of violent dramas playing out behind him, is known for his coolness under fire.

When describing how he and his BBC team were robbed at gunpoint by Albanian bandits armed with Kalashnikovs in 1999, Jeremy Bowen called it "a very nasty few minutes."

Considering he could have died at the twitch of a finger, it was quite an understatement.

He is a seasoned war correspondent, reporting for BBC News from more than 50 countries during a 20-year career.

They include some of the most vicious conflicts in recent history: Afghanistan, Croatia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia and Rwanda.

But he is most enduringly linked with the Middle East, and in particular Jerusalem, where he lived as the BBC's Middle East correspondent for five years, from 1995 to 2000.

While there, he won Best Breaking News report at the New York Television Festival for his coverage of the assassination of President Rabin.

In the previous year, 1995, he had won Best News Correspondent at the same festival.

He grew to love Israel, describing the landscape as one of "pure, biblical beauty", and he has returned frequently for special reports and for his award-winning television series, Son of God.

He left Jerusalem to take his seat on one of the softest sofas in the BBC. He joined the BBC's Breakfast programme as a presenter when it launched in October 2000.

During his time on the programme, he collected an army of fans, captivated by his bantering on-screen relationship with co-presenter Sophie Raworth - a relationship which prompted him to say he was "among Britain's most envied men".

He travelled frequently for BBC Breakfast on special reports, and presented the programme from New York after the September 11th attacks - an experience which he says will stay with him forever.

In September 2002 he left the programme to concentrate on writing a book about the Middle East, before returning as a Special Correspondent for BBC Television News in March 2003.

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Jeremy Bowen
Jeremy Bowen is a veteran of some of the most vicious conflicts in recent history

Jeremy Bowen in South Lebanon: "Nobody imagined the (Israeli) occupation would collapse so quickly"

Life as a correspondent
On Saturday 4 November 1995... we had our first dinner party at our house in Ein Karem. [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin was attending a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

I did not think it would make a story for the evening news. Anyway, my competition, the ITN correspondent, was among our dinner guests.

We were tucking into the main course when the bleepers and phones around the table erupted. Rabin had been shot.

The dinner party broke up in about 10 seconds. He died later that night, killed by a Jewish extremist.

When we got home about three days later, the food was still on the table. The ITN fork, loaded with the next mouthful was lying there abandoned.

Jeremy Bowen

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