BBC reporter shot 11 times returns home

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Frank Gardner, the BBC reporter shot and critically wounded in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, has returned to Britain, the corporation announced yesterday.

Mr Gardner, 42, the BBC's security correspondent, came under heavy gunfire while reporting from a suburb of Riyadh three weeks ago. His cameraman, Simon Cumbers, 36, died in the attack.

Mr Gardner, who suffered 11 bullet wounds, was transferred to an unnamed hospital in the UK late last week. His condition was reported to be serious but improving, and he was "making good progress", the BBC said.

Mr Gardner's wife, Amanda, released a statement yesterday saying: "I want to express heartfelt thanks to all the doctors and medical staff at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, without whose skill and care Frank's recovery would not have been possible." Mrs Gardner also expressed gratitude to the Saudi government for its help in flying her husband home.

Mr Gardner's injuries are believed to include a fractured spine and right thigh, as well as a damaged bladder and intestines. He has been operated on several times.

Mr Gardner and Mr Cumbers were shot by unknown assailants armed with a machine gun as they filmed outside the house of an al-Qa'ida suspect.

Mr Cumbers' funeral will be held in Ireland, in his home town of Navan, County Meath, on Tuesday.