Syria's government on Thursday blamed "armed terrorists" for an attack that left a French journalist dead the day before and offered its "regrets" to France dpa reported
"We regret the killing of the French reporter and we vow to cut the hands of terrorist gangs who carried out the attack," Syrian state television reported, quoting an Interior Ministry statement.
The state news agency SANA said the Syrian Information Ministry expressed "deep regret and sorrow" over the deaths of the French reporter, Gilles Jacquier, and seven "martyrs."
"The Ministry of Information stresses that the act is an extension of the terror chain to which Syria is exposed and that it is part of the terrorists' bid to distort the real scene in Syria," the agency reported.
Jacquier, of the France 2 TV network, was killed Wednesday when a mortar shell struck a pro-regime rally he was attending as part of a government-authorized tour of the restive province of Homs.
He is the first Western journalist to die in the 10-month uprising in Syria.
Broadcaster Al Jazeera reported that a Belgian cameraman, who was wounded in the attack, was being treated at a hospital in Homs.