The Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin underwent an explora-tory facial operation in a Sri Lankan hospital on Tuesday after being wounded in a rebel skirmish with a military patrol.
The Sunday Times was arranging for her to be airlifted this week to the US for further treatment.
Colvin, 44, an American, was caught in gun fire between the Tamil rebels with whom she was travelling in the north of the island and the patrol. She suffered shrapnel wounds to her thigh, chest and just below her left eye.
The British Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year was the first foreign journalist to travel in the rebel-held north since 1995. In the fighting, near Vavuniya, the rebels fled, leaving Colvin bleeding. She was removed by the army to a local hospital and then to a Colombo hospital where she is in intensive care but talking after her operation and a scan. There are fears for the sight in her left eye.
Jon Swain, another of the paper’s foreign correspondents, flew out to Sri Lanka on Tuesday to be at her side.
The Sunday Times managing editor (news), Richard Caseby, said: "We are very concerned for the welfare of Marie and we’re arranging to have her airlifted to the United States. An American eye surgeon will be liaising with specialists treating her in Colombo to work out the next best step in her treatment.
"Marie is a very brave and resourceful journalist and reports relayed to us by US diplomats suggest she is in good spirits despite the extent of her injuries."
By Jean Morgan