Attacks kill 18 in Iraq

03 November 2003
At least 18 Americans were killed in three separate attacks in Iraq on 2 November. In the single deadliest assault against US soldiers in the country since the invasion took place, 15 men were killed when their helicopter was shot out of the sky near the town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. More than 20 US servicemen were injured in the helicopter attack. Reports suggest that the helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM), which are commonplace in the country. 'We have known about SAMs since before we went in,' said US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. 'They are dangerous and they exist [in Iraq] in large numbers - it is always a risk.'

In separate events in Iraq, one US soldier was killed in a bombing in Baghdad, and two US contractors were killed in Fallujah when their vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb. The spate of deadly incidents was met with glee by many in and around the 'Sunni triangle', which still harbours a considerable degree of pro-Saddam Hussein support. Rumsfeld said that a certain amount of deaths were inevitable. 'Clearly, it has been a tragic day for Americans,' he said. 'In a long and hard war we are going to have tragic days.'

The White House is coming under increasing criticism for developments in Iraq. Opposition politicians in the US have suggested that more foreign troops are needed in Iraq if violent incidents are going to be reduced. 'We have to be prepared to go back to our European friends and say we need more help, we are willing to give you more say,' Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, Senator Joseph Biden told US media (MEED 31:10:03).

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