Apache Down


A US Apache helicopter has come down to the west of Baghdad, US officials say.
The helicopter appears to have been shot down, a US spokesman told the AP news agency. Both crew members are reported to be safe.

The helicopter came down near the town of Habbaniya, 80 kilometres west of the capital, an area which has seen previous attacks on US forces.

The helicopter belongs to the US Army's 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, which operates the air base north of the town of Habbaniyah. A military quick- response force rescued the crew members.

It was the third US helicopter to come down in the region in two weeks
The four Iraqi civilians, including one child, were shot and killed 10 days ago while travelling in a car near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit.

A preliminary inquiry into the shooting indicated a heavy calibre machine gun had been used.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russel, a US commander, said insurgents were unlikely to use a weapon of this type because of its visibility and size, suggesting the shots had been fired by US-led military forces.

US forces have been criticised by human rights groups for the number of civilian deaths
No US troops in the area reported the shooting as required by military regulations.

There are reports, meanwhile, of an incident in central Baghdad on Tuesday in which two Iraqi civilians are said to have been killed.

Relatives of the victims have told the AP news agency that a man and a 10-year-old boy were killed by US forces while travelling in a car on Palestine Street.

Witnesses report that an American convoy came under fire and responded with indiscriminate fire.

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