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Handsome Middle East Reporter

I Was Kidnapped in Syria,

Escaped During Gun Battle

12/18/2012 6:13 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

1218_engle_today

Richard Engel -- NBC News' chief foreign correspondent -- is alive and well ... but just barely ... after being held hostage by masked gunmen in Syria for several days.

Engel was reporting on the conflict in Syria earlier this month when he and his crew suddenly went missing. But after several days of radio silence ... the team surfaced ... and appeared on "Today" this morning to explain how they were abducted and exposed to psychological torture by their captors.

"We were driving in Syria ... as we were moving down the road, a group of gunmen literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road," Engel explained.

Engel and his team -- who are now in Turkey -- continued, "There were probably 15 gunmen. They were wearing ski masks. They were heavily armed. They dragged us out of the car. They had a container truck waiting by the side of the road. They put us in that container truck. We were with some gunmen, some rebels who escorted us. They executed one of them on the spot. They took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places and they kept us blindfolded and bound."

"We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. A lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed. They made us choose which one of us would be shot first, and when we refused, they were mock shooting, they pretended to shoot Gazi (cameraman) several times and when you’re blindfolded and then they fired the gun up in the air. It can be a very traumatic experience."

As for how they escaped, Engel explained ... they were being transported in a minivan, when their kidnappers came across a rebel checkpoint and a gun battle ensued. During the firefight, two of the kidnappers were killed.

"We climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us," Engel said ... "We spent the night with them.  We didn’t get much sleep and we came right here. And we still have the bandages in our pockets, the clothes we were wearing."

71 COMMENTS

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31.

Ih8Taxes    

I'm calling shena****ns. This was all made up for ratings. Just when I thought the main stream media couldn't sink any lower they always prove me wrong.

620 days ago
32.

BB not bb    

See cause like if they lose a handsome reporter, their news loses all of its credibility. . .

620 days ago
33.

tori    

"Handsome" who writes this garbage!

620 days ago
34.

Poopsi47    

Maybe now you will mind your business

620 days ago
35.

benny    

Quick, someone get a UN resolution against Israel.

620 days ago
36.

Fallopia Lopez    

What the hell does it matter that he's 'handsome'? You guys tend to be such morons.

620 days ago
37.

jl    

Handsome reporter? Must be in Havey's wet dreams.

620 days ago
38.

gutsygirl    

I prayed for their safe release and this is truly a Christmas miracle.

620 days ago
39.

Lydia    

Uh, I don't think NBC is in on it but I think these guys are pulling a planned fast one. "We even saved the bandages."

620 days ago
40.

Nobrows    

Some actual newsworthy information. Thank you.

620 days ago
41.

Nobrows    

28 journalists have been killed in Syria this year. It is an extremely dangerous place.

620 days ago
42.

bruin2006    

All you morons freaking out over the word 'handsome' need to chill out. Where's that outrage when the other 99% of stories mention how hot the women are? That's what I thought...

620 days ago
43.

William j    

Kidnapping in Syria no way I find that hard to beleive!!

620 days ago
44.

thisme60    

I call BS on this! It will come out that this is a complete fabrication of the facts. They manifested this whole thing!

620 days ago
45.

Wash. Hts. Girl    

What BS...for ratings.

620 days ago
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