Sunday, January 28, 2007

U.S., Iraqi Forces Kill 250 Terrorists in Najaf

Consider it progress. Keep it up before the funding is cut off.
U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 250 gunmen in a fierce battle involving U.S. tanks and helicopters on the outskirts of the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf on Sunday, a senior Iraqi police officer said.
Always with the holy cities.
The day-long battle was continuing after nightfall, Colonel Ali Nomas told Reuters, as tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on the nearby city of Kerbala for the climax of the Ashura commemorations.

A U.S. helicopter was shot down in the fighting, Iraq security sources said. The U.S. military declined comment. A Reuters reporter saw a helicopter come down trailing smoke.

Shi'ite political sources said the gunmen appeared to be both Sunni Arabs and Shi'ites loyal to a cleric called Ahmed Hassani.

It appears two crew members from the chopper were killed.
A Reuters reporter about 1.5 km (1 mile) from the fighting said he heard intense gunfire and saw U.S. helicopters rocket groves sheltering militants. He saw smoke trailing from one helicopter before it came down in the midst of the fighting.

He was unable to see what had happened to the helicopter, but officers in Iraq's 8th Army Division and policemen said it had crashed and that the two crew members were dead. The U.S. military said it did not comment on operations still taking place.
More at Hot Air.

UPDATE: AP report here.
U.S.-backed Iraqi troops on Sunday attacked insurgents allegedly plotting to kill pilgrims at a major Shiite Muslim religious festival, and Iraqi officials estimated some 250 militants died in the daylong battle near Najaf. A U.S. helicopter crashed during the fight, killing two American soldiers.

Mortar shells, meanwhile, hit the courtyard of a girls' school in a mostly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Baghdad, killing five pupils and wounding 20. U.N. officials deplored the attack, calling the apparent targeting of children "an unforgivable crime."
MSNBC just reported the two U.S. soldiers killed; didn't mention the 250 sent packing.

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