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 Nasiriyah hospital, according published reports.
The 32-year-old lawyer, identified only as Mohammed, told The Washington Post and USA Today that he peered through a window at the hospital where his wife worked as a nurse and saw a sight that "cut" 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.
Mohammed walked out of Nasiriyah along a treacherous road known as "ambush alley" and, hands raised, approached a U.S. Marine.
The 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.
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 the Post. "Believe me, I love Americans."
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's sort of an inspiration to all of us," Lt. Col. Rick Long told the Post.
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.