Friday, September 19, 2008

US War Bulletin: Air Raid Kills Iraqi Civilians; 7 Killed in Helicopter Crash; NATO Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Friday, September 19, 2008
16:40 Mecca time, 13:40 GMT

US raid 'kills Iraqi family'

The attack hit house in the village of Al-Dawr, where Saddam was captured by US forces

A US air raid has killed eight members of the same family near Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, the executed Iraqi president, according to police and witnesses said.

The pre-dawn helicopter raid on Friday occurred in the village of Al-Dawr where Saddam was captured by US forces in December 2003.

"Eight people, including five men and three women, were killed by a US air strike targeting their home. They are all members of the same family," Firaz al-Duri, first lieutenant of Al-Dawr police said.

The US military confirmed that it hit a house near Tikrit but said the target was an al-Qaeda operative.

It said seven people, including a suspected bomb expert, were killed in the raid.

"A suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) terrorist, alleged to lead improvised explosive device facilitation and brag about his victims, was killed by coalition forces during an operation in the Tikrit area," a statement said.

Helicopter attack

Witnesses said that US forces had surrounded the house before helicopters fired missiles at it.

"An armed man appeared in the doorway and coalition forces, perceiving hostile intent based on the man's actions, engaged him," the US military statement said.

"Later he was determined to be the suspected terrorist. Despite nearly an hour of multiple calls and warnings that the force would engage them, the individuals inside refused to come out."

The US military acknowledged that three women were among the dead but added that troops rescued an Iraqi child from the rubble and took him to a nearby base for medical treatment.

"Sadly, this incident again shows that the AQI terrorists repeatedly risk the lives of innocent women and children to further their evil work," Colonel Jerry O'Hara, the US military spokesman said.

Imad al-Juburi, a doctor at Tikrit general hospital, said the bodies of eight people were brought in and the victims appeared to have died of injuries consistent with an air raid.

The US has previously ordered investigations after incidents involving the deaths of Iraqi civilians, but the results of these have rarely been published.

According to independent estimates, about 95,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003.

In January, the Iraqi government and the World Health Organisation estimated that between 104,000 and 223,000 civilians and military personnel had been killed in the country since the invasion.

Source: Agencies

Thursday, September 18, 2008
09:23 Mecca time, 06:23 GMT

US deaths in Iraq helicopter crash

Chinook helicopters are used by the US military to transport troops

Seven US soldiers have been killed after their helicopter crashed as it was attempting to land in southern Iraq, the US military has said.

The CH-47 Chinook crashed just after midnight on Thursday, about 100km west of the southern city of Basra, a statement from the US military said.

Major Paul Smyth, a British military spokesman, said there were no reports of any hostile action in the area.

"The exact cause of the crash is under investigation.

"A British quick reactionary force was despatched from Basra and a British road convoy which was in the vicinity was diverted to the scene," Smyth said.

The helicopter was among an aerial convoy flying from Kuwait to the US military base at Balad, which lies north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The US military statement said that an investigation has been opened into what caused the crash.

It was the worst helicopter crash in Iraq since August 2007 when a US Blackhawk transport helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, killing 14 US military personnel.

The Chinook model was introduced in 1962 and is primarily used to transport troops and supplies to combat and other regions.

The latest deaths bring the total of US soldiers killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to 4,166, according to a count by the AFP news agency.

Source: Agencies

Iraq PM questions US troop deal

Iraq's prime minister has said there are "serious and dangerous obstacles" to a deal with the US on the future status of American forces in Iraq.

Nouri al-Maliki told journalists that among other issues, a dispute remained over US soldiers' immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts.

But Mr Maliki said there was a deal with the US that all American troops should leave Iraq by December 2011.

The US currently has around 147,000 US troops based in Iraq.

Mr Maliki said American negotiators had not yet responded to Iraqi proposals for troop withdrawals but that there were "intensive contacts with the American side to resolve the points of argument".

The two countries have so far failed to reach an agreement over the future of US troops in Iraq once the current UN mandate expires at the end of 2008.

Their main disagreements focus on the issue of US troops' immunity and on the right of American soldiers to detain Iraqi citizens.

They have also not agreed on who would oversee military operations in Iraq.

Mr Maliki said that Iraq's demands were "related to the country's sovereignty".

"Iraqis have shown flexibility and we hope that the American side shows more flexibility," he said.

"If they implement our demand quickly, the deal will be signed soon, but if they refuse our demands, it will face obstacles and could lead to new negotiations."

The US said last week that negotiations on the deal were ongoing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/09/17 23:36:15 GMT

NATO soldier killed in Afghanistan

Thursday, September 18

KABUL (AFP) - - A NATO-led soldier was killed after coming under fire from insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance's International Security Assistance Force said Thursday.

ISAF did not give the nationality of its latest casualty, killed on Wednesday, but most soldiers in eastern Afghanistan are US nationals.

A statement said only that the trooper was killed "during a small-arms fire attack by insurgents".

Four other foreign soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday in a bomb blast already announced by their force.

With the latest death, at least 211 international soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year alone, most of them in insurgent attacks, according to AFP tally. Around 220 died last year.

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