U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Sunday's deadly attack on an Army helicopter in Iraq is a tragic and inevitable cost of what he predicts will be a "long, hard war."
Speaking on U.S. television (Sunday), Mr. Rumsfeld vowed that the United States will not be deterred and will win the war in Iraq.
No one has claimed responsibility for the downing of a U.S. transport helicopter near the flash-point town of Fallujah. Fifteen American soldiers died and 21 others were wounded in the deadliest single attack on U.S. forces since the start of the Iraq war in March.
The U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, says loyalists of ousted leader Saddam Hussein, called Fedayeen, or foreign fighters may have been responsible for shooting down the helicopter. Mr. Bremer has warned that attacks on U.S. forces will continue as long as those staging the attacks believe, in his words, that "they can drain the coalition's will."
In a separate incident in Fallujah, two U.S. civilian contractors (working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) died when a roadside bomb exploded, as their convoy was passing. Another U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.