NEW YORK – A dying little Iraqi girl seen in a photo in the arms of a GI who was trying to rush her to safety could have been left out of the line of insurgent fire, Associated Press freelance photographer Michael Yon told FOX News.
Two Iraqi children were killed and 15 Iraqi citizens were injured Monday when terrorists chose to "plow through" a Mosul street — where about 20 children were playing — with a combined homicide car bomb and improvised explosive device attack, according to Yon, who took the emotional photograph of Maj. Mark Bieger cradling the girl in her final hours.
“The terrorists could have waited one or two blocks ... not hurt any of the children, simply hit us,” Yon told FOX News. “They chose to attack right there with a very large car bomb … with the children.”
Immediately after the attack, Bieger made the command decision to rush the fatally wounded child away from the scene in hopes of getting care from American surgeons. The girl didn’t make it. Bieger cuddled her in her last hours.
“He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her,” Yon, who is embedded with the Army's 1st Battalion 24th Regiment in Mosul, wrote on his Web site blog.
Bieger is the operations officer of an Army Stryker unit in Mosul, which conducts dangerous search and destroy missions in the boiling hotbed of insurgency. This mission hit the father of three and his fellow soldiers hard.
"These guys are in combat every day and we get hit a lot," Yon told the New York Post. "But nothing affected them like this attack."