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US Marine Helicopter Crashes Iraq: Casualties Reported - 2005-01-26


A U.S. military helicopter has crashed in a remote area of western Iraq, and the military confirms there are casualties.

The military says the Marine transport helicopter went down at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday local time, while on patrol near the city of Ar Rutbah, close to the border with Syria and Jordan.

Western news agencies (CNN and ABC) report more than 30 U.S. Marines were killed, but the military will not confirm those figures.

Troops from two Marine divisions were aboard the helicopter when it went down. It was not immediately known if the crash was an accident or the result of hostile fire. A military search and rescue team is at the site and an investigation is under way.

Also in western Iraq, the military says four Marines were killed in action today in al-Anbar province. No details were given.

Elsewhere, insurgents carried out a series of car bombings and shooting attacks as they pressed on with their campaign to disrupt Sunday's national elections. At least six people were killed and several wounded, including seven U.S. troops.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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