US correspondent in critical condition in Iraq

An American television news correspondent who had reported on the deteriorating conditions in Iraq for three years was in critical but stable condition at a US military hospital in Germany today, a day after a car bomb killed two of her British colleagues.

An American television news correspondent who had reported on the deteriorating conditions in Iraq for three years was in critical but stable condition at a US military hospital in Germany today, a day after a car bomb killed two of her British colleagues.

Kimberly Dozier, a 39-year-old American, had undergone two surgeries for injuries from the bombing before arriving in Germany, said Kelli Edwards, a CBS news spokeswoman.

Doctors had removed shrapnel from Dozier’s head but said she had more serious injuries to her lower body, CBS News reported on its website.

Dozier arrived today at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to be treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre, military officials said.

She was in the intensive care unit, and doctors planned a briefing to update her condition, CBS reported on The Early Show.

British cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and British freelance soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed yesterday when a car bomb exploded as they were working on a story about American troops in Iraq on Memorial Day, the network said.

The US military said an American soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in the same blast and six American soldiers were injured.

“Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of Paul and James, and we are hoping and praying for a complete recovery by Kimberly,” CBS News President Sean McManus said in a statement.

Dozier’s relatives were planning to head to Germany, a man who answered the phone at her mother’s home in Maryland said last night.

The Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in southern Germany is the US military’s largest overseas hospital.

The explosion occurred on the same day a series of blasts killed at least 40 people in Iraq and wounded dozens more in the worst wave of violence to hit Baghdad in days.

CBS News reported on its website that the three journalists were embedded with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division when a nearby car packed with explosives detonated, the network said.

All three journalists were riding in an armoured humvee, CBS said, and were believed to have been wearing protective gear.

Zalmay Khalizad, the US ambassador to Iraq, said he was “shocked and saddened” by news of the journalists’ deaths.

“These brave journalists risked their lives to tell the world the story of a courageous people and a proud nation,” he said.

“The terrorists who committed this evil crime have shown themselves for who they are. They do not want the world to see the truth of what is happening in Iraq, where a determined people are fighting for freedom and liberty. That story must and will be told.”

Douglas, a British national based in London, had worked for CBS News since the early 1990s in places including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren, CBS said.

Brolan, who also was based in London, had worked with CBS News during the last year in Iraq and Afghanistan as a freelancer. The British citizen leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Geri, and two children – 18-year-old Sam and 12-year-old Agatha.

“James had a natural way with people and was always in demand as the person to go with to the world’s trouble spots; always putting the locals at ease, winning friends everywhere he went and always putting in his best effort,” his family said in a statement.

In addition to her time in Iraq, Dozier also had worked as the chief correspondent for WCBS-TV New York’s Middle East bureau in Jerusalem, and previously as London bureau chief and chief European correspondent for CBS Radio News.

Dozier graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College, majoring in human rights and Spanish, according to her biography on the CBS News website.

She later earned a master’s degree in foreign affairs, specialising in the Middle East, from the University of Virginia.

McManus called the three “veterans of war coverage who proved their bravery and dedication every single day.”

“They always volunteered for dangerous assignments and were invaluable in our attempt to report the news to the American public.”

Dozens of journalists have been injured, killed or kidnapped in Iraq since the 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Before yesterday’s attack, the Committee to Protect Journalists had put the number of journalists killed in Iraq at 69. Of those, nearly three-quarters were Iraqis, the New York-based group said.

In January, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were injured while covering the war in Iraq.

They were standing in the hatch of an Iraqi mechanised vehicle, reporting on the war from the Iraqi troops’ perspective, when a roadside bomb exploded. Both were wearing body armour, which doctors say likely saved their lives.

Woodruff is still recovering from serious head injuries.

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