Photographers' bodies ferried from Misrata to Benghazi

Chris Hondros (L) and Tim Hetherington Chris Hondros (L) and Tim Hetherington were well-respected war photographers

The bodies of two award-winning photographers killed in Libya have been ferried to the rebel-held city of Benghazi on an aid ship.

Liverpool-born Tim Hetherington, 40, and American Chris Hondros, 41, died on Wednesday while covering the conflict in the besieged city of Misrata.

Two other journalists were injured, including Briton Guy Martin.

The men's bodies were put aboard the Ionian Spirit, a ferry being used to take food and medicine to Misrata.

Misrata is the only rebel-held city in western Libya and has been under attack from forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi for weeks.

It is understood Mr Hetherington and Mr Hondros were among a group of journalists pulling back from near the front line, during a lull in the fighting, when they suffered their injuries.

Mr Hetherington's family said he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Tributes

In addition to taking aid, the ferry used to transport the bodies is also being used to evacuate the injured and foreigners fleeing Misrata.

The bodies were taken to Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, in eastern Libya.

The Associated Press news agency said representatives from the UK and the US were to take custody of the bodies in Benghazi and arrange their evacuation from Libya.

Undated family handout of photographer Guy Martin Guy Martin is still being treated in hospital in Misrata

The two photojournalists wounded alongside their colleagues remain in Misrata's hospital.

Mr Martin, a Cornish photographer who was working with Panos Pictures agency, was hit by shrapnel and remains in intensive care, although reports say his condition has improved after surgery on his leg.

New York-based photographer Michael Christopher Brown, who is also being treated for shrapnel injuries, is said to be up and walking.

Tributes poured in on Thursday for Mr Hetherington and Mr Hondros, who were both well-respected war photographers.

Mr Hetherington, who had dual UK and US citizenship, was best known for his work in Afghanistan and won the World Press Photo of the Year Award in 2007.

He also co-directed the Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, which followed US troops in Afghanistan.

New-York based Mr Hondros was working for Getty Images and his previous awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal for war photography.

The Libyan government has expressed "sadness" over the photographers' deaths but spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said there were always casualties in war, adding: "People die from our side, from their side, people get caught in the middle."

The conflict in Libya began with an uprising against Col Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule in mid-February and it has developed into a battle for a territory.

Nato is currently in charge of a no-fly zone and coalition operations have been largely confined to air attacks.

On Thursday, the US sanctioned the use of armed drones over Libya to give "precision capability" to the military operation.

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