- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — A retired Air Force officer held as a prisoner of war by Iraqi forces 15 years ago has received an unusual reminder of his days in captivity: A letter from his Iraqi interrogator.

Jeff Fox, a retired lieutenant colonel, said he was surprised when a single-page, handwritten note arrived this month from Ibrahim Abd Al-tialb. In the letter, the former Iraqi army colonel recalled the day the men crossed paths at a prison near Baghdad and said he still has a few items that Col. Fox gave him, including his watch.

Col. Fox was blindfolded, beaten, thrown in a car trunk and held in solitary confinement during his 15 days in captivity. He said he recalls being interrogated by Col. Abd Al-tialb in February 1991 and described him as a decent man.

“I do think back, but it doesn’t bring back any stress or anything,” Col. Fox, 55, told the Sun News of Myrtle Beach for a story published yesterday. “I remember him saying it was a mistake … Iraq invading Kuwait.”

The letter was given to an Air Force sergeant three years ago, Col. Fox said. The sergeant couldn’t locate Col. Fox until he recently searched the Internet.

The letter included a phone number for Col. Abd Al-tialb, but Col. Fox said he doesn’t plan to contact him. But, he said, “If he wants to call me, that’s fine.”

Col. Fox, who lives in Surfside Beach and works part time at a church, is one of 17 former prisoners of war who sued Iraq and Saddam Hussein, president at the time, for hundreds of millions of dollars in 2002 for torture suffered during the 1991 Gulf War.

They sought to claim some assets taken by the United States to help rebuild the war-torn country, but a federal judge ruled the U.S. government could prevent them from collecting the money.

Lawyers for the POWs are contacting the new Iraqi government about reaching a settlement, Col. Fox said.

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