US examines helicopter wreckage

17 November 2003
US officials in Iraq are studying the wreckage of the two Black Hawk helicopters that collided on 16 November, killing at least 17 soldiers. Early reports from the scene suggested that the planes had crashed mid-air, and fallen to the ground, although witnesses believe that shots may have been fired at one of the helicopters. The incident brings to 39 the number of US troops killed in helicopter crashes in the last month.

The incident came as coalition forces stepped-up raids in Iraq. US forces in Baghdad carried out a number of raids in neighbourhood of Azamiyah, searching 450 houses over seven hours in the hunt for weapons and fighters. The US also fired a satellite-guided missile for the first time since US President George Bush declared an end to major combat operations on 1 May.

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