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Journalist Hit By Grenade

In this April 17, 2001 file photo, Sri

In this April 17, 2001 file photo, Sri Lankan army medical staff examine journalist Marie Colvin at a field hospital in Vavuniya. Colvin, an award-winning American journalist working for Britain's Sunday Times newspaper was caught in the skirmish between Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels near the northern town of Vavuniya. Credit: AP

This story was first published on April 16, 2001.

When Rosemarie Colvin took a telephone call from a reporter last night at her East Norwich home, she thought she was about to be congratulated on her daughter's winning Best Foreign Correspondent in the British Press Awards two weeks ago.

Instead, she learned that her daughter, a foreign correspondent for the London Sunday Times, had been wounded by a hand grenade in Sri Lanka while returning from an interview with separatist rebels. Marie Colvin, 44, who graduated from Oyster Bay High School in 1974 and went on to Yale, suffered an eye injury and injuries to her chest and arms. She reportedly was in stable condition in a Sri Lanka hospital.

"Oh God, this is awful," Rosemarie Colvin said. "This time, I'm really worried." She left the telephone long enough to call London.

"Her editor said she is being flown to Columbo to a hospital. Nothing is serious but her left eye, and the eye is badly damaged. I just am beside myself. This is almost as bad as Chechnya," she said, referring to when her daughter became lost in the Russian republic for three days in December 1999.

"She had to get out by going into Georgia. She walked 40 miles in the end," the mother said.

Rosemarie Colvin, widowed and a retired teacher from the Oyster Bay district, said she had been planning to visit Marie in London. She explained that her daughter's award is the British equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize and she won it for coverage of the conflict in Yugoslavia.

Her daughter was awarded the 2000 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation for behind-the-lines action in Kosovo and Chechnya.

"In our family, we say that whenever Marie is going to a country, they should evacuate, because something terrible is going to happen," Rosemarie Colvin said.

Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a homeland in Sri Lanka. According to an Associated Press report, Marie Colvin was caught Monday in a skirmish near the town of Vavuniya. Rosemarie Colvin said Marie's editor, Sean Ryan, reported that Marie had gotten an interview with a rebel leader who had not talked to the press in eight years and was returning with a new proposal. Government troops apparently did not know a foreign journalist was among the rebels.


Marie Colvin was one of two journalists killed in a shelling attack on the besieged city of Homs, Syria, on Feb. 22, 2012. Click here to read the full story.

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