Jessica Lynch Story to Air as NBC Movie

updated 04/11/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/2003 10:48AM

This week's PEOPLE covergirl, rescued U.S. soldier Jessica Lynch, will have the story of her ordeal as an Iraqi prisoner of war turned into an NBC TV movie, Reuters reports.

Lynch, 19, did not sell NBC her story, nor did her family, notes the news service.

"Like the rest of America, we shared in the collective thrill of witnessing the heroic and dramatic rescue of Private First Class Jessica Lynch. Her inspiring story is one that provides a message of hope despite great odds," the network, which is preparing a script ostensibly based on widespread news accounts, said in a statement.

The TV movie is expected to air before the end of this year.

Lynch, an aspiring schoolteacher from West Virginia, was listed as missing for nine days after Iraqi forces had ambushed her convoy when it took a wrong turn. Last week she was rescued during a nighttime raid on a hospital in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah.

Within a week of the daring raid Lynch had undergone surgery (in a U.S. military hospital in Germany) to set her broken bones and was once again eating small servings of her favorite foods: turkey, french fries and steamed carrots, PEOPLE reports in its cover story.

A Capitol Hill source privy to intelligence briefings about Lynch's condition tells PEOPLE that some of her wounds were the result of extensive torture.

"Those people -- the Iraqi captors -- were barbaric," says the source. "I have no doubt that with her injuries, and with what they had planned for her, she was going to die."

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