Two Rescued Iraqi Orphans Die

U.S. and Iraqi soldiers provide medical care to boys discovered naked and abused in a Baghdad orphanage Sunday, June 10, 2007. Soldiers found 24 severely malnourished boys, some tied to their beds, in the orphanage, yet there was a room full of food and clothing nearby. (CBS)

It was a bittersweet reunion for U.S. soldiers when they returned to a Baghdad home for special-needs children after the recent death of two boys.

They were among a group of 24 whose lives the soldiers believed they had saved when they rescued them from a nearby state-run orphanage this summer.

As first reported on CBS News, the boys were found naked, bound and starving to death, while the kitchen down the hallway was packed with unopened food and piles of brand new clothing sat unused, CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan reports.

One boy, Saddam Ali Abbas, was the first to die shortly after his rescue.

Now, some five months later, two more boys are dead from cholera they contracted while under state care:

  • Thirteen-year-old Ismail Garib, who loved to show-off and interact with the soldiers.
  • And Omar Thanoon, whose name is the only detail orphanage officials have for him.

    Staff Sgt. Mitchell Gibson - part of the original rescue team - was shocked at the deaths and condition of the boys today: "They deserve to live and they deserve to have a happy life and at this rate I don't see these kids having a happy life."

    "Well if they keep dying at the rate they are dying they wont have any life at all?" Logan said.

    "No. And I believe these kids, they've fought for their second chance to live," Gibson said. "They're strong kids, but they are only as strong as the people taking care of them."

    And that's where much of the problem lies.

    Despite the reported arrest of an administrator and two security guards responsible for the boys' well-being, no one has yet been charged.

    Find out how you can help the Iraqi orphans
    Read Logan's original exclusive report about the boys.
    But while Logan was visiting the orphanage, several government officials were there to begin an investigation.

    "One of my concerns is that this is just going to blow over and we are going to be seeing the same thing again unless we hold people to the fire and hold them to task to do the right thing," Navy Lt. Jim Cook.

    Worried about the health of several boys, the soldiers say they'll be back soon with U.S. doctors.

    But they admit that's only a temporary solution - and the boys' fate really lies in the fate of the Iraqi government.

    • Lara Logan
      Lara Logan

      Lara Logan's bold, award-winning reporting from war zones has earned her a prominent spot among the world's best foreign correspondents. Logan began contributing to 60 Minutes in 2005.