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US Helicopter in Iraq Comes Down in Water


The U.S. military in Iraq says one Marine died and three others are missing after a military helicopter made an emergency landing into water in western Iraq.

A military statement says 16 personnel were on the Marine helicopter when it came down Sunday in Anbar province. The statement says the incident does not appear to be a result of enemy action.

Twelve people were rescued from the helicopter. One Marine drowned and his body was later recovered from the water. Searches are continuing for three others listed as missing.

Earlier, the U.S. military reported nine American troops were killed in battles around Iraq Saturday and Sunday.

Iraqi police also say 50 people were found dead across Baghdad Sunday after having been tortured and killed by sectarian death squads.

President Bush is to meet an influential Iraqi Shi'ite cleric at the White House Monday for talks on how to reduce the sectarian violence in Iraq.

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim is the leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), one of the largest factions in the Iraqi government.

Hakim does not hold a ministerial post because Iraqi officials have barred clerics from taking part in day-to-day decision-making. But, he has considerable influence because of his party's military wing, the Badr Brigade, which has thousands of men.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said in a BBC television interview that the level of violence in Iraq is worse than in some civil wars, such as Lebanon.

Mr. Annan says he agrees with Iraqis who say the life of an average citizen there is worse now than it was when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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