In the deadliest day for American troops in Iraq, a U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down Sunday near Baghdad airport, and at least 16 troops were killed and some 20 were injured, U.S. officials said. Another U.S. soldier was killed early Sunday by a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital. Two American civilians were killed in a blast west of Baghdad.
The U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said the helicopter included soldiers going to the airport for rest and recreation abroad.
"The Chinook was shot down by an unknown weapon," a U.S. spokesman in Baghdad said, according to The AP. A short time after the attack, the spokesman in Baghdad said there were 20 wounded, but later, the Army confirmed at least 15 were killed.
The Baghdad spokesman said the helicopter was part of a formation of two Chinooks carrying more than 50 passengers to the U.S. base at Baghdad International Airport. Witnesses said they saw two missiles fired at the helicopter.
Some Iraqis at the site of the crash were celebrating word of the helicopter downing and also a fresh attack on U.S. soldiers in Fallujah, where witnesses said an explosion struck one vehicle in a U.S. Army convoy at about 9 a.m. Sunday. They claimed four soldiers died, but U.S. military sources said they couldn't confirm the report.
Another U.S. soldier was killed early Sunday by a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital, an Army spokesman said. The spokesman said the soldier was evacuated to hospital after the blast, but died a few hours later.
Meanwhile, two US civilians working for the US Army Corps of Engineers were killed by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, a spokesman said Sunday.
"We had two American private contractors killed and one slightly wounded in Fallujah when an improvised explosive device exploded as their truck drove by," Jack Holt, a spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers, said.
The three were working on a program to destroy weapons found in arms caches across Iraq, Holt added. (Albawaba.com)
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