Monday, February 12, 2007

Military: Insurgents step up attacks on copters; Reveal another Blackhawk downed last month

A Blackhawk helicopter. The new report of a downed copter brings the total to 7 in last 3 weeks

BAGHDAD, Feb. 11 — A deputy commanding general in Iraq whose duties include aviation said Sunday that insurgents had adopted new tactics and stepped up their efforts to shoot down American helicopters, and he acknowledged that the rash of recent incidents included a previously unreported downing of a Black Hawk late last month.

The unreported incident took place on Jan. 25 near the Euphrates River town of Hit when a Black Hawk was struck by automatic weapons fire from the ground, said Maj. Gen. Jim Simmons, a deputy commanding general for the American-led Multi-National Force in Iraq. All aboard were evacuated and there were no casualties, General Simmons said.

Depending on the outcome of an investigation into the crash last Wednesday of a Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter, the latest report brings the number of American military and civilian helicopters shot down in Iraq in the past 21 days to either six or seven. General Simmons said preliminary findings suggested that the Sea Knight went down because of mechanical problems, but some witness reports indicated that the helicopter was shot down. All seven people aboard died.

Read the rest at the NY Times