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Apache Crew's Bodies Recovered; Officials Report on Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2006 – Military officials in Iraq today confirmed the death of two helicopter pilots from Multinational Division Baghdad whose AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter crashed southwest of Baghdad yesterday, and provided details on recent operations.

The Apache crew's remains were recovered following aircraft recovery operations at the crash site, officials said.

The crew was conducting a combat air patrol when the helicopter went down "due to possible hostile fire" west of Yousifiyah, officials reported. The names of the soldiers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other news, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers killed four terrorists, captured 17 insurgents, and discovered five hidden weapons caches in the past two days, military officials in Iraq reported.

Iraqi army and U.S. soldiers detained 17 terrorists and found four weapons caches during Operation Red Light II in Salah Ad Din province March 31. The combined air and ground assault on suspected terrorist cells involved Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, and U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

The caches included an assortment of bomb-making materials, ammunition and artillery rounds, artillery projectile charges, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, surface-to-air missiles, mines, hand grenades, mortar rounds and sites, and PE4 explosive sticks. Iraqi Army Soldiers took the 17 detainees into custody for further questioning, officials said.

U.S. and Iraqi soldiers killed four terrorists, wounded another gunman and detained four suspects yesterday after the terrorists mounted two failed attacks against them near Balad. Three of the gunmen attacked an Iraqi army unit east of Balad yesterday morning. The Iraqi soldiers returned fire, breaking up the attack and trapping the gunmen in a nearby house, officials said.

A patrol from the American 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived and came under fire as they approached the house. These soldiers returned fire, killing the three gunmen in the house. AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades were discovered in the building.

A fourth insurgent gunman was killed, and another terrorist was injured yesterday afternoon by the 3rd HBCT south of Balad. The soldiers were returning fire after being attacked by the gunmen. Coalition aircraft and additional ground forces converged on the area and detained four terrorist suspects. No Iraqi or coalition troops were injured in either confrontation, officials said.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, discovered a weapons cache near Tal Afar yesterday. The soldiers spotted three men loading what appeared to be mortar rounds into their car. The soldiers engaged the men, who then fled the scene.

The soldiers secured the site and discovered weapons and ordnance in the car and a bunker with mortar rounds, AK-47 assault rifles and artillery rounds. Explosive ordnance disposal soldiers destroyed all of the items, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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