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Last Updated:  Sunday, 13 April, 2003, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
US rescues soldiers held by Iraq
Seven US service personnel who were being held by Iraqis have been rescued by US forces.

US Central Command named the seven as two Apache helicopter pilots and five members of the 507th Maintenance Company, all captured on 23 March.

American commander General Tommy Franks said that marines came across the prisoners near the town of Samarra, north of Baghdad, while moving up the highway towards Tikrit.

President George W Bush has hailed the rescue of the seven.

FREED POWs
Rescued: Chief Warrant Officer David S Williams and Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D Young Jr
Army chief warrant officers Ronald Young and David Williams (Apache pilots)
Sergeant James Riley and soldiers Shoshana Johnson, Patrick Miller, Joseph Hudson and Edgar Hernandez from the 507th Maintenance Company

General Franks said the marines were informed by an Iraqi who approached them on the road, saying there were Americans in the vicinity.

Forces still loyal to Saddam Hussein were reported to have fled the building where the Americans were being held.

Two of those rescued have gunshot wounds, said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The seven have been flown to Kuwait.

The Pentagon currently lists seven US services members as prisoners of war and six others as missing in action.

One other US soldier was rescued by special forces on 2 April in a dramatic night raid on a hospital in Nasiriya.

Jessica Lynch, aged 19, was rescued after a tip-off from an Iraqi man and is now recovering from serious injuries in hospital in the United States.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Justin Webb reports from Washington
"For all the relatives, this is the happiest of days"



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