- 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,
- "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
- 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."