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News ::
Iraqi's REALLY Hate Americans.. (english)
04 Apr 2003
Iraqi lawyer's courage leads Marines to Lynch
The daring rescue that freed American POW Jessica
Lynch on Tuesday originated with a tip from a genial Iraqi lawyer who couldn't stomach seeing a woman
hit.

Army Pfc. Lynch, 19, was seized March 23 along with 14 other
soldiers when their supply convoy took a wrong turn as it
passed the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah.

A few days later, the lawyer who prefers to go just by his
first name of Mohammed for now went to Saddam Hospital
in Nasiriyah to see his wife, Iman, who is a nurse. Right away,
he noticed an unusual number of security personnel ringing the
building. As he passed a first-floor emergency ward, he saw
through the window an Iraqi paramilitary man give Lynch two
open-handed slaps to the face.

"I saw them hit the female soldier, and my heart stopped," said
Mohammed, who does not want his family name disclosed for
fear of retribution from the Iraqi paramilitary fighters. "I decided
to go to the Americans and tell them the story."

On a battlefield where America's enemies look the same as
America's friends, that was no small matter. Mohammed had to
walk more than 6 miles out of Nasiriyah, along an open road in
an area that Marines have nicknamed "Ambush Alley."

When he reached a checkpoint manned by Marines, with his
hands raised in the air, he was greeted with a curt "What do you
want?"

"Important information about woman soldier," he replied in the
broken English he acquired during studies at Basra Law College.

That piqued the interest of a young Marine shouldering an
M-16, who then ushered the Iraqi to see his superior officer.
Thanks to his wife, Mohammed, 32, was able to give the
Marines the hospital layout, including the vital fact that a
helicopter could land on the roof of the six-story building.

The Americans asked Mohammed to return to the hospital and
bring back additional details about its layout, security and
Lynch's exact location.

Luckily, Mohammed also had a good friend who worked as a
doctor at the hospital. With the doctor's help, he made two
more trips to the hospital once when U.S. bombs were
raining on the area and drew five maps for Lynch's rescuers.

On one visit, he saw the body of an American killed in battle and
a U.S. military uniform. But asked whether he had seen any
other Americans alive, Mohammed replied, "Just Jessica. Only
Jessica."

Twelve solders from Lynch's unit, the Army's 507th Maintenance Company, a non-combat unit from Fort
Bliss, Texas, are missing or prisoners of war. Two others were killed in the ambush.

When Lynch was rescued, U.S. special operations forces also recovered 11 bodies from the hospital.
Nine of them were retrieved from a mass grave and two others from the hospital morgue. Some of bodies
are thought to be American, and there were unconfirmed reports Thursday that some of them were from
the 507th, although none was identified.

On his first visit, Mohammed slipped into Jessica's room after her captor had left. She was lying in bed, a
blanket drawn up to her chin, he said. There was a bandage on her head, and one arm was in a sling.
Mohammed said she had gunshot wounds to both legs. Lynch's father, Greg Lynch Sr. of Palestine,
W.Va., said Thursday that military doctors told him she was not shot but had two broken legs.

"She think I doctor," Mohammed recalled of his visit to Jessica. "I said, 'Good morning.' She said, 'Good
morning, doctor.' I said, 'Don't worry,' and she smiled."

Militant paramilitaries from an outfit called Fedayeen Saddam had moved into the hospital at the outset of
the war.

The hard regime loyalists, many drawn from Iraqi prisons, alienated many people in Nasiriyah by shooting
anyone who showed warmth toward the U.S. invasion. One woman, who waved to a U.S. helicopter as
it passed overhead, was shot and killed. Mohammed said he saw her body dragged through the street.

The day after he approached the Marines, security personnel ransacked his home. Mohammed's wife and
6-year-old daughter, Abir, or "flower," took refuge in his father's house while he spent nights with the
Marines.

"I never went back to my house. My friends told me they (the Fedayeen) went into my house and took
my car," he said.

Mohammed and his family arrived here at Marine headquarters by helicopter Thursday and became
instant celebrities. Marines clustered about them, taking pictures and exchanging small talk. After
showering in the Marines' rudimentary camp facilities, the family dressed in borrowed T-shirts, pullovers
and slacks and ate a dinner of military Meals Ready to Eat.

Mohammed is headed to Umm Qasr, where his temporary refugee status means he and his family will be
cared for. He doesn't know when he will be able to return to Nasiriyah. But he is a big fan of the Marines.
Digging into his pocket, he retrieves a unit patch he was given by the helicopter crew who brought him
here. "I am very happy, I keep this," Mohammed said, smiling and fingering the patch that read: "We get
you home."
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