Gardner back at BBC after Saudi shooting

By Caitlin Pike

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner returned to work on Monday, 10 months after being shot by militants in Saudi Arabia.

Gardner spoke to Natasha Kaplinsky on BBC Breakfast about the attack
in Riyadh that led to the death of his colleague, cameraman Simon
Cumbers, and his ongoing recovery.

Asked if he remembered the
attack, Gardener replied: “I’m afraid that I remember everything – it’s
crystal clear… It’s almost like watching a film.

One of them
reached into a specially sewn pocket in his gown and pulled out a
pistol, and I thought, Oh God, I know what’s coming next…

“You go into auto, and I shouted in Arabic, ‘No, don’t do this’… I bolted…

ran as fast as I could and for a few, happy split seconds, I thought I’m going to make it.”

Describing his current state of health Gardner added: “This [the wheelchair] is not a temporary thing… I’m a paraplegic…

“I’m
in a wheelchair, so I don’t think I’ll be joining you in Strictly Come
Dancing … I will be able to walk very slowly in callipers, with a
frame.”

Commenting on the support he’s received, Gardner said: “I
have a lot to keep me going (including) my family, I’m writing a book,
and knowing that I can come back to my job – that is a nice thing.”

He added: “I’m afraid that all the reporting today is about me – a journalist’s dream, and now I’m looking to put it behind me.”

Gardner
has been BBC security correspondent since 2002 – the only UK television
journalist dedicated to reporting on the war on terror full time.

Fluent
in Arabic and an expert on the Arab world, Gardner delivers insights
into the complex realities of global terrorism, Al-Qaeda and the
environment in which it operates.

He moved to Dubai in 1997, and
reported for the BBC from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Kuwait. In 2000, he
became a BBC Middle East correspondent, based in Cairo.

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