- BAGHDAD (Sapa-AFP) -- At
least 31 US Marines were killed in a US transport helicopter crash near
the western Iraqi city of Rutbah, according to military and media reports
- It is the highest number of US fatalities to result from
a single incident since the US first occupied Iraq almost two years ago.
- Earlier yesterday the US military in Baghdad confirmed
the crash saying it happened overnight as the helicopter was transporting
soldiers from the 1st Marine Division, headquartered in Fallujah.
- Witnesses said the helicopter appeared to have been hit
by a surface-to-air missile and exploded on hitting the ground.
- A second helicopter also came under fire but was able
to reach safety, the witnesses said.
- A further five US soldiers were killed in two other incidents
yesterday, bringing the day's death toll to 36, the highest since March
23, 2003, when 31 soldiers died.
- Four US soldiers were killed yesterday during clashes
with insurgents in the western province of Anbar, while a fifth soldier
died in an attack on a military patrol north of Baghdad.
- Meanwhile seven people died when a car bomb exploded
at a police station in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk yesterday, a police
- Three policemen, two Iraqi soldiers and two civilians
died and three policemen were injured, police said.
- Witnesses spoke of two more car blasts, one near a city
marketplace and another outside the town near a US patrol, but there were
no immediate reports of casualties.
- Seven soldiers were injured in two separate car bombs
targeting US convoys on the main road leading to Baghdad International
Airport yesterday morning, the US military said. The bombs exploded within
four hours of each other along a route that has frequently been targeted
- One Iraqi was killed and two were wounded in a firefight
between US troops and insurgents in the centre of the city of Ramadi, hospital
- In the village of Bu Nimr, 20 kilometres from Ramadi,
US troops rounded up 40 Iraqis on suspicion of helping insurgents carry
out attacks against US convoys.
- Saboteurs blew up a school designated as a polling station
for Sunday's elections, witnesses said. No one was injured in yesterday's
blast at a girls' school north of Baghdad. A number of would-be polling
centres have come under attack by insurgents seeking to derail Sunday's
vote for a new National Assembly.