World News

U.S. says helicopter down in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military said an army helicopter with nine personnel on board went down south of Baghdad on Thursday, and four personnel were injured.

A statement did not give the cause of the incident or any other details. Witnesses reported seeing heavy gunfire force the aircraft down in an insurgent stronghold near Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.

Witnesses had earlier said the aircraft appeared to be an Apache attack helicopter, but the number of personnel on board indicates it would be a transport helicopter.

“I saw a helicopter in the sky, then I heard heavy gunfire,” said one witness. “I saw the helicopter move right and left before landing hard. It did not explode.”

Insurgents shot down eight helicopters during a month-long period earlier this year, killing 28 people, mainly American soldiers. Six were U.S. military helicopters and two belonged to a private American security firm.