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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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1.

Jane    

Thank God they are safe!

582 days ago
2.

RP    

I'm glad these 3 are okay. The story is informative and well written, but why does the title have to refer to Richard as "Handsome Middle East Reporter"? Is it relevant o the story if he is handsome or not?

582 days ago
3.

LK    

OMG TMZ ! U HAVE REALLY BEEN SUCKING LATELY . IT'S LIKE A BRITISH TABLOID BOUGHT U .
OK & WHERE IS \ALL THE CELEBRITY GOSSIP ?? u GUYS HAVE REALLY BEEN SLACKING !!

582 days ago
4.

Phreaky    

Something fishy here - it was just revealed yesterday that he was missing. Yes, I know he had already been missing for several days, but hours after the story breaks, he is not only found, he is appearing on the Today show? The same show desperate for viewers? I don't know, something just fishy about this whole thing.

582 days ago
5.

w    

TMZ you are just so ridiculous with your headlines, did any of you actually go to college?

582 days ago
6.

verlinda    

Happy they are safe !!! TMZ. PLEASE- PLEASE proof read. You are " suppose to be professionals" two kidnappers weer killed. SMH

582 days ago
7.

Thetruth    

He not that handsome.
He should dye his white hair it would make him look younger and more handsome.

582 days ago
8.

Jdawg    

NBC hurting in the ratings,hides reporter for a few days,claims kidnap. Next BS story please!

582 days ago
9.

TheTruth    

Handsome? Supposedly a guy escapes from a brutal regime and you use the word handsome. Good lord are all of you a bunch of penis munchers. Grow up.

582 days ago
10.

Truth    

WHY COULDNT THEY CAPTURE THAT FUGLY BRIT PIERS MORGAN??? DUDE'S CNN RATINGS ARE SO LOW NO ONE WOULD NOTICE THE ASS **** IS MISSING. #TRUTH!!

582 days ago
11.

Dave    

If they would just ban guns over there then none of this would happen.

582 days ago
12.

Pudding Tang    

Sounds like they almost had a blast

582 days ago
13.

Mumra the Ever Living    

Money Grubbing Large Nosed Fugly Dwarf Hires Incompetent Nincompoops to Write Idiot Headlines for Douche Bag Web Site

582 days ago
14.

nan    

I am so glad he and the others are alright ..He always seems to be in the middle of the most dangerous conflicts, like playing the odds, this was bound to happen.
I hope he stays in the States for a while..His family must always be worried

582 days ago
15.

Truth    

YAAAAWWWN!!!!! LEAVE THE REAL NEWS TO THE REAL NETWORK JOURNALISTS. TMZ, STICK WITH THE USUAL NATIONAL ENQUIRER INSPIRED PULITZER PRIZE WINNING STORIES... #TRUTH!!

582 days ago
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