More than 250 militants have been stated to have been killed and a U.S. helicopter was shot down north of the Shi'ite Holy City of Najaf on Sunday, reports state.
More than 250 militants have been stated to have been killed and a U.S. helicopter was shot down north of the Shi'ite Holy City of Najaf on Sunday, reports state. The incident occurred after American and Iraqi forces took on gunmen from an apocalyptic Muslim cult in a battle involving US tanks and aircraft.
The fight is stated as one of the deadliest battles since four years ago. For more than fifteen hours, troops hid in a date palm orchard near a village in Zarqaa which is about 120 miles south of Baghdad.
The helicopter is stated to have crashed around 1:30 p.m. and two soldiers died in the crash. The total number who died in the battle have not been confirmed by the U.S. military.
"While conducting operations to assist Iraqi Security Forces that were attacked earlier today, a Multi-National Division - Baghdad helicopter went down at approximately 1:30 p.m. (1030 GMT) north of An Najaf. Two soldiers were killed when the helicopter went down. Their remains have been recovered," a U.S. statement stated.
Reports state that blasts could be heard after dark while F-16 jets bombed the area.
This fight occurred during the calendar time of the annual Shiite rite of Ashura.