US Woman Prisoner Of
War, 19, Rescued In Iraq
By Jeff Franks

AS SAYLIYA CAMP, Qatar (Reuters) - A U.S. Army woman soldier captured in Iraq has been rescued by U.S.-led forces, military officials said on Wednesday.
The officials and members of the woman's family in the United States identified the soldier as Jessica Lynch, 19, from Palestine, West Virginia.
"Coalition forces have conducted a successful rescue mission of a U.S. Army prisoner of war held captive in Iraq," Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told reporters in a prepared statement.
"The soldier has been returned to a coalition-controlled area," Brooks told a news conference convened at around 3 a.m. local time (midnight GMT Tuesday) at command headquarters in Qatar for the U.S. and British forces invading Iraq.
Relatives of Lynch in the United States said that, although in hospital, she was "alive and well."
However, CNN reported that Lynch suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the rescue. Her condition was said to be stable.
Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for U.S. commander General Tommy Franks, said Lynch had been rescued at around midnight Iraq time from a hospital in the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya.
It was in Nassiriya that five members of the U.S. 507th Maintenance Company went missing and were later shown on Iraqi state television on March 23, provoking U.S. outrage.
Fox Television said U.S. Navy Seals and Rangers had carried out the rescue.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Suzy DeFrancis said President Bush was informed of the rescue in an afternoon briefing by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. His reaction was "That's great," said DeFrancis, quoting the president.
In Qatar, Wilkinson told reporters: "America doesn't leave its heroes behind. It never has, it never will.
"I can't get into operational details, but we have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more POWs that we are still worried about."
Before Lynch's rescue, 14 members of the U.S. armed forces were listed as missing in the war on Iraq which began on March 20.
Interviewed on CNN from the woman's hometown, Lynch's kindergarten teacher, Linda Davies, said:
"They've (the family) been told she's doing really well and will be calling them later tonight. People are blowing horns, sirens are going off, there are fireworks going off everywhere."


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