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Helicopter Crash Kills Two; Soldier Dies From Small-Arms Fire

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2005 – An American helicopter crashed at approximately 11 a.m. local time today northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, killing two soldiers, military officials in Iraq reported.

The AH-64 Apache carried two pilots at the time of the crash. The soldiers' names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Also today, a U.S. Army soldier assigned to Task Force Baghdad was killed by small-arms fire in Baghdad while investigating a burning vehicle, according to U.S. military officials.

In other news from Iraq, a male security detainee died June 26 from wounds sustained while engaging coalition forces two weeks ago. The detainee arrived at the 115th Field Hospital on June 18. He died of complications resulting from gunshot wounds. The remains will be transferred to the family upon completion of an autopsy, officials said.

Iraqi and U.S. soldiers searched seven houses in Adhamiya June 26, resulting in the capture of three suspected terrorists. Soldiers from A Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, led the early-morning operation.

U.S. military police from 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division assisted in the operation. The detainees are suspected of being bomb-makers, Iraqi Army captain said.

Iraqi police arrested seven terror suspects and seized 500 anti-personnel mines, 60 rocket-propelled-grenade rounds, and three mortar rounds during a search operation conducted around midnight in the east Baghdad neighborhood of Amin June 26th. The police also confiscated two trucks the suspects may have been preparing to use as car bombs.

Less than an hour later, Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade thwarted a terrorist car-bomb attack in central Baghdad. The Iraqis inspected a car that had been parked in the same spot for almost nine hours and found two 125 mm rounds and one propane tank under the hood. After cordoning off the area, the Iraqis called in a team of explosives experts.

"Iraqi security forces are becoming more independent and more confident in their own capabilities," said Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "Despite continued attacks on the Iraqi security forces and the insurgents' campaign of intimidation and assassination, Iraqis are stepping forward to serve in the security forces and going on the offensive to take back their country."

On June 25, Iraqi police and coalition forces captured four terror suspects, seized weapons, foiled a potential suicide bomber, and derailed a roadside-bomb attack while conducting combat operations in and around Baghdad.

Early on June 25, Iraqi police discovered seven AK-47 assault rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition while checking farms in northern Baghdad for illegal weapons and stolen cars that could be used as bombs. In another early operation that day, Task Force Baghdad soldiers captured four terror suspects, including a high-value target, in four separate cordon-and-search operations conducted in central Baghdad.

Later in the day, an Iraqi construction crew found a suicide vest rigged with explosives while demolishing a house in central Baghdad. The workers notified a Task Force Baghdad patrol in the area that secured the site. While an ordnance disposal team prepared to destroy the vest, an unknown number of terrorists attacked the patrol with gunfire. The patrol fought off the attackers, and the explosives team detonated the suicide vest.

"Time is running out on those who seek to support the insurgency," Kent said. "The populace has confidence in their army and in their police force, both of which will only get stronger."

Another group of American soldiers found a bomb consisting of two anti-personnel mines in central Baghdad June 25. The soldiers called in a team of explosives experts to blow up the bomb.

On June 23 U.S. soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 48th Brigade Combat Team, discovered a weapons cache during a security patrol in southern Baghdad. The cache yielded eight 81 mm and two 60 mm rounds. One person was detained. An explosive ordnance disposal team was called in to handle the explosives.

"When it comes to possible IED attacks, we will be aggressive and we will continue to find the explosives, as well as the thugs behind them. The Iraqi community and our soldiers will be protected," said Maj. Christopher Kemper, an operations officer with 48th BCT.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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