CAMP AS SALIYAH, Qatar April 2 —
Eleven bodies at least some of them believed to be Americans were
found with prisoner of war Pfc. Jessica Lynch when she was rescued
in a U.S. commando raid on an Iraqi hospital, a military spokesman
Lynch, a 19-year-old Army private, was captured by the Iraqis on
March 23 after her maintenance unit made a wrong turn and was
ambushed in the Euphrates River city of Nasiriyah. As many as 12
other members of her unit were feared captured; five of them are
officially listed as POWs.
Acting on an intelligence tip about Lynch's whereabouts, U.S.
special operations forces slipped behind enemy lines and seized
Lynch from the hospital under cover of darkness Tuesday.
Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said
that during the rescue operation, 11 bodies were recovered in and
around the hospital.
"We have reason to believe some of them were Americans," Thorp
He said the military has not confirmed whether they were members
of Lynch's unit, the 507th Maintenance Company.
"We don't yet know the identity of those people," Thorp said.
"And forensics will determine that."
Thorp said Lynch was being treated for her injuries at an
American military facility Wednesday. He said he had no details on
her condition or the nature of her injuries.
Thorp would not confirm reports that troops used a battlefield
diversion to slip into the hospital.
The 507th was attacked during some of the earliest fighting in
Nasiriyah, where Fedayeen loyalists and other hardcore Iraqi
fighters are said to have dressed as civilians and ambushed
Not long after the ambush, five of Lynch's comrades showed up in
a video shown on Iraqi television being asked questions by their
The video also showed bodies, apparently of U.S. soldiers, which
led Pentagon officials to accuse Iraq of executing some of its POWs.
Officials believe the video was made in the Nasiriyah area.
Lynch, an aspiring teacher from Palestine, W.Va., joined the Army
to get an education, her family said. She left a farming community
with an unemployment rate of 15 percent, one of the highest levels
in West Virginia.
She was following in the footsteps of her older brother Gregory,
a National Guardsman based at Fort Bragg, N.C. Jessica Lynch
enlisted through the Army's delayed-entry program before graduating
from high school.
"You would not believe the joys, cries, bawling, hugging,
screaming, carrying on," Lynch's cousin Pam Nicolais said after the
rescue. "You just have to be here."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the rescue a miracle.
"God watched over Jessica and her family," Rockefeller said
through a spokesman in Washington. "All of West Virginia is
rejoicing. This is an amazing tribute to the skill and courage of
|RETRANSMITTED TO CORRECT DATE OF
AMBUSH TO MARCH 23, NOT MARCH 24 ** Jessica Lynch, 19, seen in
this undated photo, one of several soldiers who went missing
after their supply convoy was ambushed in southern Iraq, March
24, 2003 was rescued, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday, April 1,
2003. Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.Va., worked as a supply clerk
with the Army's 507th Maintenance Co. (AP Photo/Family
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