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Family Says POW Wasn't Shot or Stabbed

Family Says POW Wasn't Shot or Stabbed

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PALESTINE, W.Va. (AP) -- The father of rescued POW Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch said Thursday she was in great spirits following her first surgery and said doctors told him she had not been shot or stabbed during her ordeal.

"We have heard and seen reports that she had multiple gunshot wounds and a knife stabbing. The doctor has not seen any of this," Gregory Lynch Sr. said. "There's no entry (wounds) whatsoever."

Lynch said his 19-year-old daughter, who is at a military hospital in Germany, had surgery on her back.

"She didn't have any feeling in her feet," he said outside his home in this West Virginia hamlet. More surgery was scheduled for Friday on her fractured legs and right arm, he said.

The family spent several hours with Pentagon officials discussing her time in Iraq. They hoped to learn more about what happened on March 23, when her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was attacked after making a wrong turn in southern Iraq.

Also waiting for news are family members with loved ones in the 507th, based at Fort Bliss, Texas: Seven soldiers remained missing Thursday, five were listed as prisoners of war and two others were confirmed killed.

The military has said 11 bodies were found during Lynch's dramatic rescue from an Iraqi hospital Tuesday, and some were believed to be Americans.

Gregory Lynch said he had not discussed his daughter's captivity with her during telephone conversations. He and his wife did not immediately elaborate on what they discussed with military officials.

"They have successfully done one surgery on her," he said, smiling as he joked about pink casts for her broken limbs. "There will be other surgeries. It's going to take time and patience. She's in real good spirits."

Lynch, a supply clerk, was rescued from an Iraqi hospital in a daring nighttime raid by U.S. commandos acting on a CIA tip.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Lynch shot several Iraqi soldiers during the firefight and kept firing until she ran out of ammunition even after suffering several gunshot wounds.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the report.

According to a military reporter with the First Marine Expeditionary Force, Marines were led to Lynch by an Iraqi man whose wife was a nurse at the hospital.

The man, a lawyer from Nasiriyah whom the reporter identified only as Mohammad, said he peered through the window of Lynch's room.

"I knew then I must help her be saved," the man was quoted as saying. "I decided I must go to tell the Americans."

The military reporter said that after Mohammad told Marines about Lynch's whereabouts, he returned to the hospital to gather intelligence, including the number of Iraqi troops guarding the building, the layout of the building and the room in which Lynch was kept.

Mohammad and his family have been granted refugee status and have been taken to a secure location, the reporter said.

Lynch left Iraq on a stretcher with an American flag folded across her chest, and arrived at a U.S. air base in Germany late Wednesday for treatment at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Members of the medical crew that accompanied her on the 81/2-hour flight to Germany from Kuwait said she appeared clear-headed, smiling and alert, but didn't discuss her plight with them.

"She must be as hard as nails," said Air Force Capt. Shean Galvin.

"She doesn't know what kind of uproar she's caused right now," her brother, Greg Lynch Jr., said. "She's definitely a hero.

Whether she realizes it or not -- not only to our family, but to the whole nation."

Lynch joined the Army after graduating in 2001. Her brother enlisted the same day, and their 18-year-old sister, Brandi, will report for duty in August.

The family said they are not sure when Jessica Lynch will be flown back to the United States. They decided against a trip to Germany.

"We want that to be on Jessi's terms," her father said. "When she is ready, I'm sure she will let us know and we'll be on the way."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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