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Wounded British journalist is smuggled out of Syria

February 28, 2012 |  6:12 am

Injured British journalist Paul Conroy has been smuggled to safety out of Syria, sources said
REPORTING FROM LONDON AND BEIRUT -- Paul Conroy, a British journalist who was injured in Syria in an attack that killed one of his colleagues, has been smuggled out of the besieged city of Homs and into neighboring Lebanon, sources close to the rescue operation said Tuesday.

"All I can say is we are delighted and overjoyed, but I am not going to say any more at this point," Conroy's wife, Kate, was quoted as saying by the Times of London.

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Conroy was in Lebanon and receiving assistance from the British Embassy in Beirut.

Conroy, 47, a photographer for the Sunday Times of London, was wounded in the leg when a makeshift media center in Homs was bombarded during shelling last week by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Conroy's Sunday Times colleague, American-born reporter Marie Colvin, and a French photographer, Remi Ochlik, were killed in the shelling .

British and other media reports said Conroy was smuggled out of Syria's Baba Amr district Monday by opposition activists in an operation shrouded in secrecy. Several days earlier, Conroy had made a video appeal for help in getting out of the country.

French journalist Edith Bouvier, who was also wounded in the attack, remains in Homs, however, as do two other uninjured Western journalists, sources said.

A New York-based humanitarian group, Avaaz, which said it helped coordinate Conroy's rescue, welcomed his flight to safety but said that activists had died in the attempt. The organization also implied that media reports of Conroy's rescue jeopardized attempts to smuggle the other three Western journalists out of Homs.

"The rescue is ongoing and we are deeply disappointed that sections of the media broke this story before all the journalists are safe," Ricken Patel, the executive director of Avaaz, said in a statement. "The world must now listen carefully to the human horror stories that Paul will tell and act to end this bloodbath and deliver the urgent relief and protection to the people of Syria."

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-- Henry Chu and Patrick J. McDonnell

Photo: Paul Conroy, a photographer with the Sunday Times of London who was injured in an attack on the city of Homs. Credit: Agence France-Presse

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