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Family Celebrates Rescue of US POW


The family of U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, who was rescued by American troops after being held prisoner by Iraq forces, is celebrating the release of their daughter but expressing concern for the families of other prisoners.

In a nighttime raid, U.S. Special Forces rescued 19-year-old Private First Class Jessica Lynch from a hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya.

Private Lynch had been listed as missing in action since March 23, when her supply convoy was ambushed.

Brigadier General Vincent Brooks said there were firefights on the way into and out of the building, which was being used as a military post. "There were no coalition casualties as a result of this and in the destruction that occurred inside the building, particularly in the basement area, where the [Iraqi] operations center had been, we found ammunition, mortars, maps, a terrain model and other things that make it very clear that it was a military command post," he said.

Private Lynch was taken to a coalition medical facility where she was treated for undisclosed injures.

Celebrations erupted as word of her rescue reached family and friends in her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. The soldier's mother, Dee Lynch, described her emotions. "Oh it is just so exciting," she exclaimed. "I mean, a whole different adrenaline feeling. It was wonderful."

U.S. troops also recovered 11 bodies in the raid. Forensic teams are trying to determine if any of the bodies are those of missing coalition soldiers.

The rescued private's father, Greg Lynch, says he is overjoyed at the news of her rescue and expressed gratitude to the troops involved. But he says news of the discovered bodies is difficult for the families of other soldiers who are prisoners of war or missing in action. "Our heart really is saddened over it," said Greg Lynch. "We knew, we knew if we went to war casualties were going to happen. It is just something that, I feel really sorry for the other parents and families."

In a separate development, Pentagon officials say two Navy aviators were rescued by helicopter after their F-14 "Tomcat" fighter plane crashed in southern Iraq.

Officials say the crash was due to mechanical failure and neither crewmember was seriously injured.

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