SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- An American veteran news photographer was killed in heavy combat between government soldiers and leftist guerrillas in a battle at strategic northern town.
The death of John Hoagland, who was working for Newsweek magazine, brought to 10 the number of foreign journalists killed in El Salvador's 4-year-old civil war.
The chief Salvadoran army spokesman, Lt. Col. Ricardo Cienfuegos, said 14 government soldiers also died Friday in the fighting around Suchitoto.
Hoagland, 36, of San Diego, Calif., died Friday when he was hit in the spine by a bullet from an M-60 machine gun or G-3 rifle near Suchitoto, 20 miles northeast of San Salvador, hospital authorities said.
Salvadoran rebels launched the attack on Suchitoto just after midnight Thursday and the combat continued into Friday afternoon, local residents said.
A civil defense official said the fighting was 'so intense that the security forces could not go outside.'
Time magazine photographer Bob Nickelsberg, who was with Hoagland at the time of his death, said they were walking with some soldiers on the road between Suchitoto and San Salvador when guerrillas began firing on them.
The two men were running toward a tree to escape a hail of mortar fire when Hoagland yelled, ''Ouch, I'm hit,'' Nickelsberg said.
Nickelsberg said a CBS News team assisted in transporting Hoagland's body to the capital, where doctors said he had died almost instantly from a bullet wound that broke his spine. They said he was hit by a standard 7.62 round fired from an M-60 machine gun or a G-3 rifle.
Nickelsberg said he did not know where the shots came from. Both government troops and guerrillas use M-60 machine guns.
Hoagland, who covered the revolution in Nicaragua in 1979, had just returned to El Salvador for this month's elections after covering the U.S. Marine withdrawal from Beirut.
A photographer for the Gamma-Liason agency, Hoagland began covering the Salvadoran civil war for United Press International in 1980 but later worked exclusively for Newsweek magazine.
Hoagland was slightly wounded on Jan. 12, 1981, when a rebel-planted land mine wrecked the car he was traveling in about 10 miles east of Suchitoto.
He was the 10th foreign journalist to be killed in the Salvadoran conflict since August 1980.
Other journalists killed during the 4-year-old civil war were Mexican freelance journalist Ignacio Rodriguez Terraza; Ian Mates, a South African cameraman working for UPITN; Olivier Rebbot, a French photographer on assignment for Newsweek and John Sullivan, a freelancer working for Hustler Magazine.
Four Dutch journalists from Radio-Television News of Holland and a Chilean television reporter were also killed in the region.