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Iraqi Official Claims Destruction of US Helicopter, Tanks

A senior Iraqi official says Iraqi forces have destroyed an Apache helicopter and numerous tanks. The official also claimed that coalition airstrikes were responsible for many civilian casualties.

Iraq's minister of information, Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, said recent air strikes in Iraq by coalition forces had killed 24 civilians and wounded 186 people in a 24-hour period, with 10 dead and 90 wounded in Baghdad.

There is no way to independently confirm this information. But U.S. and British officials say coalition forces are employing every precaution to avoid civilian casualties, including the use of precision guided weapons.

Mr. al-Sahhaf said Iraqi troops continue to wage fierce battles across the country and said, since Tuesday, Iraqi forces had destroyed an Apache helicopter.

Coalition forces say there are no missing aircraft.

U.S. and British officials say they have Iraqi troops, in the words of one official, "on the run" throughout the country and are engaging four Republican Guard divisions near the capital.