US copter shot down near Fallujah as suicide bomber injures two US troops in Baghdad
Iraqi resistance fighters firing a rocket-propelled grenade shot down a U.S. helicopter Tuesday near the town of Fallujah west of Baghdad, witnesses said.
The American military said the aircraft made a "controlled landing." "The helicopter was forced to make a hard landing - a controlled landing," said Maj. Peter J. Mitchell of the U.S. Central Command in Florida. "There have been no casualties, injuries or fatalites reported. The military personnel who were aboard it have walked away from it."
A military spokesman in Baghdad said the OH-58 Kiowa observation helicopter was hit at 2:30 p.m. The OH-58 Kiowa is a single-engine, single-rotor, two-bladed observation helicopter. The crew consists of the pilot, pilot and copilot, pilot and gunner, or pilot and observer.
Used in a forward observation / reconnaissance role, the OH-58 Kiowa is frequently be paired with one of the US Army's attack aircraft in "hunter/killer" teams. The OH-58's mission is to locate and observe the "enemy," while calling the attack helicopter in to prosecute the target.
According to The AP, witnesses said two helicopters were flying in formation near Fallujah, some 50 kilometers west of the capital, when one was hit by a grenade fired from the ground. It crashed immediately, the witness said.
Earlier Tuesday, a second suicide bomber blew himself up outside a U.S. Army compound near Baghdad, lightly injuring two soldiers, the U.S. military said. This attack came hours after another bomber drove a car to the gate of a military base in Talafar, some 50 kilometers west of the northern city of Mosul. Guards at the gate and in a watchtower opened fire on the vehicle and moments later it blew up, leaving a large crater at the gate's entryway. More than 40 US troops were wounded in this incident. (Albawaba.com)
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