Four U.S. soldiers killed in aircraft crash in Iraq

Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed, LA Times, Jan. 26, 2009

Reporting from Baghdad -- Four U.S. soldiers were killed early today when at least one U.S. military aircraft crashed near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, according to the U.S. military and Iraqi officials.

The crash was believed to have been an accident, according to a U.S. military press statement.

Initial reports from the U.S. military said two aircraft were involved, but later reports said it was only one aircaft that went down in the incident, which occured around 2:15 a.m.

The crash happened in Multaquia, a district 18 miles west of Kirkuk, an Iraqi police official said on condition of anonymity. The officer described the aircraft as a helicopter and also said it did not appear to have been combat-related.

Before the crash, 11 U.S. soldiers had died this month, according to website, which tracks U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. U.S. military casualties in Iraq have leveled off in the last year. The deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in the last six months was September, when 25 U.S. soldiers died.

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