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April 2, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
11 Other Bodies Found With Rescued POW
Eleven Other Bodies Were Found With Rescued American POW Jessica Lynch, U.S. Official Says

The Associated Press


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CAMP AS SALIYAH, Qatar April 2

Eleven bodies were found with prisoner of war Jessica Lynch when the Army supply clerk was rescued in a U.S. commando raid on an Iraqi hospital, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, said it was not immediately known whether any of the dead were Americans. He said the 11 were not killed during the rescue operation.

Lynch, 19, was seized after her unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, made a wrong turn March 23 and was ambushed in the Euphrates River city of Nasiriyah. A dozen other members of her unit remain unaccounted for, including five listed as prisoners of war.

An intelligence tip led U.S. special operations forces to the hospital in Nasiriyah where Lynch was being held, officials said. Thorp would not confirm reports that troops used a battlefield diversion to slip into the hospital.

He 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.

"In the same operation we recovered 11 bodies in and around the facility. We don't yet know the identity of those people," Thorp said. "And forensics will determine that."

The 507th was attacked during some of the first fighting in Nasiriyah, where Fedayeen loyalists and other hardcore Iraqi fighters have dressed as civilians and ambushed Americans.

Not long after the ambush, five of Lynch's comrades showed up in a video shown on Iraqi television being asked questions by their Iraqi captors.

The video also showed bodies, apparently of U.S. soldiers, which led Pentagon officials to accuse Iraq of executing some of its prisoners. 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.

A private first class, 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 our military."


photo credit and caption:
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 Handout)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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