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Iraqi Lawyer Dubbed POW's Hero

U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, seen in this undated photo, was captured March 23 after her 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company convoy was ambushed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. The 19-year-old Army supply clerk was rescued from a hospital in that city by U.S. commandos on April 1.
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An Iraqi lawyer tipped U.S. forces to the location of POW Jessica Lynch after seeing her slapped in the face by a burly Fedayeen security man guarding her in a Nasariyah hospital, according to published reports.

The 32-year-old lawyer, identified only as Mohammed, told several newspapers that he peered through a window at the hospital where his wife worked as a nurse and saw a sight that "cut" [stopped] his heart: Lynch being slapped in the face by the black-clad Iraqi security agent.

He said he decided on the spot he had to tell U.S. forces where to find the captured American private.

"Don't worry, don't worry," he recalled telling Lynch after later sneaking into her hospital room and promising to help.

He spoke to reporters at Marine Combat Headquarters in Iraq. He said he learned English at Basra University.

Mohammed walked out of Nasiriyah six miles along a treacherous road known as "ambush alley."

"This was very dangerous for me because American soldiers shoot," he said, throwing up his hands in the air to show how he carefully approached what turned out to be the U.S. Marines.

One Marine asked curtly: "What do you want?" Mohammed offered "important information about woman soldier in hospital."

In the days that followed, Mohammed made several more risky trips to the hospital, which was full of Iraqi security guards, at the request of U.S. officers. He gathered information on the number of troops and made hand-drawn maps of the building's layout and location.

His wife, Iman, filled in other crucial details, including the fact a helicopter could land on the roof, according to USA today.

Doctors treating Lynch wanted to amputate her leg, Mohammed told Knight-Ridder newspapers, but his doctor friend persuaded them not to. His friend, he said, "hates Saddam Hussein and hates security of Saddam Hussein."

Lynch, a 19-year-old Army supply clerk, was captured in an ambush when she and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company made a wrong turn in Nasiriyah. U.S. commandos rescued her Tuesday in a nighttime raid.

Asked why he decided to help, Mohammed said he simply couldn't watch the mistreatment of a fellow human being without taking action.

"A person is a human being regardless of nationality," he told several newspapers.

Mohammed talked to the newspapers after he, his wife and daughter were taken to a U.S. military camp in the Iraqi desert. They were to be flown later to a refugee center in Umm Qasr, Iraq's deepwater Persian Gulf port. He withheld his last name to protect his family.

Mohammed told the newspapers he acted will full knowledge of the risks.

"I am afraid not for me," he said. "I am afraid about my daughter and my wife. ... Because I love much."

Marines said Mohammed's story gave them courage.

"He is an extremely courageous man who should serve as an inspiration to all of us to do the right thing," Lt. Col. Rick Long, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, told Knight-Ridder.

"We owe him our life and Jessie's life for what he has done," Gregory Lynch, the private's father, told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.

Lynch was flown Wednesday to a U.S. air base in Landstuhl, Germany, where she underwent back surgery at a military hospital. She was said also to have suffered fractures in both legs and a broken arm.