Soldier Reported Dead Shows Up at Parents’ Doorstep
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An Egyptian soldier who fought in the Persian Gulf War appeared at his parents’ doorstep 20 days after he was officially declared dead, a Cairo newspaper reported Friday.
Yasser Ahmed, 21, told the government-owned al-Akhbar daily that the first person he met Wednesday on the road to his village, Arab Darwich in the Nile Delta province of Sharkiya, thought he was a ghost.
″As I was walking toward my village, I ran into a friend on a motorcycle and asked him for a ride,″ Ahmed said. ″Looking closely at me, he started screaming hysterically: ’Ghost, ghost 3/8‴
Ahmed was among 36,000 Egyptian troops who participated in the U.S.-led multinational force that drove Iraq out of Kuwait. He said he fought in the four-day ground offensive against Iraqi troops which began on Feb. 24.
With Ahmed’s return, the number of Egyptian soldiers killed in the war drops to 11. An additional 74 were wounded.
Ahmed told the newspaper that when he knocked at his parents’ door, his grief-stricken mother, Hafza, did not recognize him immediately and asked who he was. When he told her, she slammed the door in his face thinking he was a prankster.
″Stop joking. You know very well that my son Yasser died in the war, God bless his soul,″ said Hafza, who wore black mourning clothes.
When she finally realized he was her son, she let him in and called his father.
″My father took a look at me and fainted,″ Ahmed said.
The village, which had been mourning Ahmed as a martyr, greeted him as a hero. He was paraded on the streets and people poured into his parents’ house to offer congratulations, the newspaper said.
The paper published a picture of Ahmed standing under a street sign bearing his name. The street was named after him to honor his death as a martyr.
Ahmed’s parents were allowed to keep the $1,524 indemnity they received from the government for their son’s death, the paper said.