Video reportedly shows POWs, dead GIs
March 24, 2003
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Al-Jazeera, the Arab cable news station based in the Middle East, broadcast chilling pictures of what it said were dead American soldiers as well as interviews with five soldiers who have allegedly been taken prisoner.
Two of the five soldiers — one a woman — identified themselves as members of the 507th Maintenance Company.
All of the soldiers were visibily shaken and all appeared to have some sort of injuries.
One looked like he had a broken wrist and other cuts and abrasions. The injuries had been bandaged.
“I was just following orders; I come to shoot only if I am shot at. I do not want to kill anyone,” said one prisoner, who said he was from Kansas in response to an interviewer’s questions.
He was asked why he came to Iraq. He responded, “I was told to come here.”
Another prisoner, who said he was from Texas, only gave his name, unit, age and said that, “I follow orders.”
He was asked how many officers were in his unit and replied he did not know. He was in a wheelchair.
Another soldier, who said he was from New Jersey, was also sitting in a wheelchair.
The female soldier had her feet wrapped in bandages.
The most disturbing images were of piles of what the broadcaster said were American soldiers. They appeared to have been shot in the head, and powder burns were visible on their faces.
They were wearing tan T-shirts and camouflage chemical suit pants. Images were then broadcast of what appeared to be personal documents and belongings taken from the soldiers such as credit cards, wallets, calling cards and an AAFES video rental card.
It was hard to determine how many different groups of bodies there were, where the videos were taken, how many bodies there were, or when they were taken.
As many as eight bodies were shown, including one body that was shown lying on a road. The body was behind a water buffalo that had the words “potable water” written on it. The water tank was being towed by a large Army truck.
The truck’s passenger side door was open and blood could be seen on the inside of the door.
The U.S. Army’s 507th Maintenance Company is based in Fort Bliss, Texas. The unit is part of the Army’s 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, which includes Patriot missile batteries.
A Pentagon official who had seen the footage and who spoke with Stars and Stripes on the condition of anonymity said several of those captured had visible single gunshot wounds to the forehead.
“There were five or six, or could have been seven,” he said. “It was hard to tell because they would pan the camera and stop the footage and shoot from a different angle and you had to try to recount.
“This wasn’t pretty,” the official said, his hand shaking and his voice trembling. “They were piled up and then they were out in a line.”
The video clip, which is about 10 minutes long, was also shown on other Middle East cable stations such as those that originated in Syria.
It began being aired around 7 p.m. local time in Kuwait.
— The Associated Press and Stripes reporter Sandra Jontz also contributed to this report.