BEIRUT (AP) - NBC's chief foreign correspondent says he and several colleagues were kept bound and blindfolded for five days by kidnappers in Syria, who threatened to kill them and staged mock executions.
Richard Engel says he and his fellow captives escaped yesterday when their kidnappers ran into an unexpected rebel checkpoint as they were moving the group in a van. A gunfight followed and Engel says two of the kidnappers were killed.
However, it is not immediately clear whether all those abducted with Engel have been accounted for.
Speaking on NBC's "Today" show, an unshaven Engel said the kidnappers executed at least one of his rebel escorts on the spot at the time he was captured. He says the captives were not beaten but were psychologically tortured with threats.
Engel says the captors were a Shiite militia group loyal to the Syrian government, trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and allied with Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group.