Three Midland soldiers have described the moment they leapt from their burning Warrior armoured vehicle when they were set upon by an Iraqi mob.
The servicemen described how they battled to escape from their vehicle when it was engulfed in flames after they were attacked in Basra with petrol bombs.
The soldiers - Sergeant George Long, aged 29, Private Ryon Burton, 20 and Lance Corporal Jo McCann, 19, from the 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment - were pictured fleeing the warrior as it burned but escaped without serious injuries.
Warrior driver Pte Burton (pictured) said: "I couldn't breathe at all because of the fumes - I just needed to get out and was thinking about my life, basically."
The petrol bombing of the Warrior happened on Monday after two SAS soldiers were seized by Iraqi police after they allegedly fired on other police in Basra. They were later freed by British forces.
Pte Burton added: "The first thing I heard was the gunner saying his sights had been smashed.
"The second thing was a petrol bomb ... coming over my hatch and the platoon sergeant shouting the petrol bomb had actually gone in the turret as well.
"So I was on fire from the back. Tried to lift the (hatch) opening device which wouldn't open, so I had to lean back kick it (and) managed to get it to release.
"The hatch opened and I just jumped through the fire and got out."
Platoon Warrior Sgt Long (pictured), from Lichfield, Staffordshire, said: "One of the petrol bombs came in unfortunately on top of me and my gunner.
"I had to get out because basically we were in flames. We got out over the back and somebody put me out."
L/Cpl McCann described how he helped to rescue a colleague. He said: "The gunner was still rammed in the turret so we went round the front got him off and people put him out. We got hold of him and dragged him away to the medics."
Asked about the pictures of the burning Warrior he replied: "It looks a lot worse then what it is.
"The Warrior is quite tough with all the armour. All it was basically was petrol on top of armour burning."
Meanwhile, the former International Development Secretary Clare Short, who quit the Cabinet in protest at the Iraq war, called on the British Government to state clearly that it will withdraw from Iraq, and then negotiate with Iraqi interests a smooth exit.
Ms Short said: "What we really need to say is we will negotiate with Iraqi groups, and that includes the Association of Muslim Scholars that represents all the Sunni mosques, who have said that if there was going to be an end to the occupation, they would negotiate."
She added: "If we go on as we are, it is more and more quagmire and the West is dividing and ruling, and endangering the break-up of the country in a vicious civil war."
Asked whether she thought there was any chance of Mr Blair's Government following her advice, she said: "No, Tony Blair is absolutely bought and paid for, he will go with (President) Bush all the way."
Ms Short said it might be helpful if former Chancellor Ken Clarke, who consistently opposed the war, were to win the Tory leadership.
She said: "There won't be a change in British policy unless there is a much richer and stronger debate within Britain about what we want to do."