ITV News presenter Rageh Omaar rose to prominence for his reporting on Iraq war

ITV News presenter Rageh Omaar has become a familiar face over the years after rising to prominence for his reporting during the Iraq war.

The 56-year-old is currently the ITV News international affairs editor and is the presenter of the broadcaster’s foreign current affairs programme, ITV On Assignment.

While presenting the ITV News At Ten programme live on Friday, he appeared to struggle to read the news bulletin – sparking concern online.

ITV later said he had become “unwell” while on the show and that he is “receiving medical care”.

Rageh Omaar unwell
ITV News presenter Rageh Omaar (Ian West/PA)

In an statement on Saturday, an ITV spokesperson said Omaar is “recovering at home with his family” after receiving medical treatment in hospital.

“We are wishing Rageh a speedy recovery and look forward to him being back on screen when he feels ready”, the statement added.

The news presenter added in a statement shared by ITV: “I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and good wishes, especially all the medical staff, all my wonderful colleagues at ITV News, and our viewers who expressed concern.

“At the time, I was determined to finish presenting the programme. I am grateful for all the support I’ve been given.”

Born in Somalia and raised in Britain, he studied at Oxford University before going into journalism.

After starting out on The Voice newspaper, he worked as a freelance journalist in Ethiopia and later became a foreign correspondent for the BBC.

In 1998, he was among three British BBC journalists who were arrested in Yemen and charged with breaking the country’s press and publications law by illegally filming information and violating instructions not to visit the area where tribesmen had kidnapped a British family.

Following a short trial, the Foreign Office said they had been found not guilty by a court and were set free.

Breathing Life Awards 2005 – Royal Lancaster Hotel
Rageh Omaar studied at Oxford University (Ian West/PA)

During the Iraq war, he became known in Britain and America as one of the central faces reporting on the conflict when he worked for BBC News.

The New York Post labelled him the “Scud Stud” within a week of the first American missile hitting Baghdad.

He was praised on his return as an “outstanding broadcaster and communicator” by the then-BBC’s World News Editor, Jonathan Baker.

In 2003, he was named man of the year in an online poll of Radio Times readers, beating former England captain David Beckham to the title.

He also won the best TV news journalist award at the 2003 Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy Awards.

After working for news channel Al Jazeera for a period, he joined ITV News as a special correspondent in 2013 and was later promoted to ITV News’ international affairs editor.

In the role, he is responsible for covering major news stories across the world.

Omaar was one of the main ITV presenters who reported on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018.

He was also stationed with the armed forces at Wellington Barracks to report live for the broadcaster during the Queen’s funeral.

The news presenter has also featured in a number of TV documentaries and published several books including Revolution Day: The Real Story Of The Battle For Iraq, which provides an account from his days reporting on the conflict.