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US Helicopter Crew Survives Attack Near Baghdad - 2004-01-13


A U.S. Apache helicopter went down west of Baghdad Tuesday. Military officials say it was likely shot down, but the crew survived the attack. At least two Iraqis are reported killed by U.S. troops in the central town of Fallujah and there was renewed violence in the southern city of Kut, where several people were reported injured.

The U.S. military says the helicopter went down Tuesday morning near the town of Habbaniya, about 80 kilometers west of Baghdad. Military officials say it is likely the helicopter was brought down by enemy fire.

The area is known for insurgent attacks against coalition forces, and American helicopters have been a favored target.

Nine American soldiers were killed last Thursday when their Black Hawk helicopter, which was on a medical evacuation mission, made a crash landing near the town of Fallujah. A preliminary investigation indicated it had been brought down by hostile ground fire.

In separate violence Tuesday in Fallujah, U.S. troops guarding the town hall were attacked with rocket propelled grenades. The troops returned fire. According to local witnesses and police, several people were killed and injured.

Earlier in Fallujah, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the arrest of a young woman there last week. She was detained by U.S. forces during a raid in search of insurgents. The woman was held for several hours and then released unharmed, but many people in this very conservative area were deeply angered by her arrest.

Meanwhile, violence erupted again in the southern city of Kut, where hundreds of angry demonstrators clashed with Ukrainian forces. The protesters were demanding food and jobs.

The violence in Kut comes on the heels of similar protests in Amarah Saturday and Sunday. In Saturday's protests at least five demonstrators were killed and at least another 11 were injured in clashes with Iraqi police and British soldiers.

And a U.S. commander says American forces were likely involved in the shooting of four Iraqi civilians near Tikrit earlier this month. Lt. Colonel Steve Russell is quoted as saying that coalition forces may have been involved in the January 3 shooting because the heavy caliber weapon used in the incident is too large and too difficult to hide to be used by insurgents.

The four Iraqis, including a young boy, were killed when the taxi they were riding in passed a U.S. military convoy on a road near Tikrit. The military says an investigation into the incident is underway.

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