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US Helicopter is Shot Down in Iraq; 16 Soldiers Killed
Greg LaMotte
VOA, Baghdad
02 Nov 2003, 12:30 UTC


Sixteen U.S. soldiers were killed and 20 others injured Sunday when a U.S. army helicopter crash-landed about 60 kilometers west of Baghdad, in what appears to have been a missile attack.

It was the deadliest single attack against American forces in Iraq since the war began in March.

At 9:00 a.m. Sunday local time, a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter, transporting a group of soldiers to Baghdad International Airport who were heading home for leave, was shot down near the town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad.


Charred wreckage of US helicopter
The U.S. military said the incident is under investigation, and it is aware of eyewitness reports from residents who said they saw a missile trail just before the helicopter was hit.

Two other U.S. helicopters have been hit by ground fire over the past six months. Neither of those incidents resulted in any deaths.

The heavy-duty Chinook helicopter is widely used by the Army to transport troops and artillery supplies.

On Thursday, coalition forces announced that aircraft near Baghdad International Airport had come under ground fire over the past several weeks, but that none had been struck.

Coalition forces have been unable to locate a large number of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were part of the arsenal of Saddam Hussein's former regime. That is a primary reason why Baghdad International Airport has not been reopened to commercial traffic.

The portable missiles are easily smuggled.

It is estimated that there are about 350,000 tons of missing weapons and ammunition in Iraq.


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US Helicopter is Shot Down in Iraq; 15 Soldiers Killed
Greg LaMotte
VOA, Baghdad
02 Nov 2003, 12:30 UTC


At least 15 people were killed and many others injured when a U.S. Army helicopter was shot down Sunday west of Baghdad.

Graphic Image  
 
Emergency vehicles, rescue personnel and American military officials are at the scene of the downed U.S. Army Chinook helicopter.

The helicopter was heading towards Baghdad airport carrying as many as 35 people and was flying in tandem with another Chinook helicopter that was carrying about 25 passengers.

<b>Charred wreckage of US helicopter</b>  
Charred wreckage of US helicopter  
U.S. military officials said the helicopters were transporting troops that were heading for rest and recreation leave abroad.

The aircraft was hit with an as yet unknown weapon near the town of Fallujah, about 60 kilometers west of Baghdad.

The Chinook helicopter is widely used by the military to transport troops and artillery supplies.

The U.S. military has acknowledged that it has not been able to locate a large number of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were once part of the arsenal of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Those missiles remain a significant threat to coalition aircraft in Iraq.

The missiles are easily transported, weighing about 14 kilos with a length of less than two meters.

The U.S. military has offered rewards of $500 for the return of the missiles, but on the black market they can bring as much as $5,000.

Coalition officials said Thursday that portable missiles have been fired at incoming planes several times over the past few weeks and is the primary reason why Baghdad International Airport has remained closed to commercial traffic.

A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter crash landed October 25 after taking ground fire near the town of Tikrit north of Baghdad. One crewmember was injured.

On June 12 a U.S. Army Apache helicopter was shot down in western Iraq. Its two crewmembers were not injured.


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13 Die as US Helicopter is Shot Down in Iraq
Greg LaMotte
VOA, Baghdad
02 Nov 2003, 12:30 UTC


At least 13 people were killed and many others injured when a U.S. Army helicopter was shot down Sunday west of Baghdad. Emergency vehicles, rescue personnel and American military officials are at the scene of the downed U.S. Army Chinook helicopter.


The helicopter was heading towards Baghdad airport carrying as many as 35 people and was flying in tandem with another Chinook helicopter that was carrying about 25 passengers.

U.S. military officials said the helicopters were transporting troops that were heading for rest and recreation leave abroad.

The aircraft was hit with an as yet unknown weapon near the town of Fallujah, about 60 kilometers west of Baghdad.

The Chinook helicopter is widely used by the military to transport troops and artillery supplies.

The U.S. military has acknowledged that it has not been able to locate a large number of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were once part of the arsenal of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Those missiles remain a significant threat to coalition aircraft in Iraq.

The missiles are easily transported, weighing about 14 kilos with a length of less than two meters.

The U.S. military has offered rewards of $500 for the return of the missiles, but on the black market they can bring as much as $5,000.

Coalition officials said Thursday that portable missiles have been fired at incoming planes several times over the past few weeks and is the primary reason why Baghdad International Airport has remained closed to commercial traffic.

A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter crash landed October 25 after taking ground fire near the town of Tikrit north of Baghdad. One crewmember was injured.

On June 12 a U.S. Army Apache helicopter was shot down in western Iraq. Its two crewmembers were not injured.