Friday, May 27, 2005 - 12:16 PM [Kods Time]

The US army said that two of its soldiers were killed in Iraq when their helicopter came under fire and crashed.
The US military said the helicopter came under small arms fire while supporting coalition forces near the city of Baqubah. CNN and CBS television news reported that the downed helicopter had been carrying two crew members. The US Central Command said in a statement that a second helicopter also received ground fire but managed to land safely at a US military base. "The other aircraft crashed and the status of the aircrew is unknown at this time," the command said. US forces have secured the site of the crash. A Pentagon official said that the kind of helicopter is OH-58 Q.


Fighting
More than 1,000 US occupation troops continued a sweep through the Iraqi city of Haditha, in the Anbar province on Thursday, for what it termed insurgents suspected of multiple attacks against coalition troops.
Helicopters circled overhead as US snipers could be seen taking up positions on rooftops.
The streets of the city, some 225 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, were deserted with only a few people venturing out of their homes.
The occupation forces said they have killed at least 10 suspected militants while one Marine died from wounds sustained while entering the city during Operation New Market's first few hours on Wednesday,
A child was killed when a mortar landed on his family home on Wednesday, the military added.
Resident Falih al-Hadithi, said ''US troops are raiding our houses under the pretext of (Militant Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi. We don't know anything. Our children cannot go to school or go out of their homes. The US forces are even striking people going to the mosque to pray.''
In other attacks, the US occupation army said its forces killed a child during a shootout with soldiers close to the city of Mosul where the Us army is currently sweeping Telafar west of Baghdad. An Iraqi medical source said that 4 people were killed and 14 others injured in Telaafar clashes.
In the capital Baghdad, two US soldiers were injured when a bomb detonated close to the "Shaab Stadium", targeting a US military convoy. South of the capital, Iraqi security sources said that 3 civilians were killed and four were wounded when the US occupation forces opened fire on a bus.
In northern Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol at about 7:45 am in the popular Shula district as people headed to work.
Police Lieutenant Haider Hussein and medic Naseer Hashim of Baghdad's Nour Hospital said the car bomb targeted a police patrol, killing three policemen. Another two Iraqi civilians were killed and 17 wounded, they added. Separately, two policemen were shot dead in Baghdad's southern Risala neighborhood while driving to work Thursday morning.

US Occupation Forces

Senior defense officials said Thursday that overlapping troop rotations will push US force levels in Iraq slightly higher in coming months but the top US commander in Iraq has made no recommendations so far on the future size of the force.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita said that General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, met with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday to review progress in developing Iraqi security forces and the political transition there. But DiRita said "he's not made recommendations with respect to force levels."
Casey predicted in late March that the United States should be able to make "fairly substantial reductions" in US troop levels by March 2006 as Iraqi forces assume greater responsibility for
security from US forces.
But attacks on US forces climbed to higher rate than pre-election levels in January. Nine US troops have been killed so far this week. DiRita said there was tension between the desire to reduce the US military presence in Iraq and the development of the Iraqi security forces. The Pentagon was encouraged by the initiative Iraqi officials have shown in announcing plans to pour some 40,000 Iraqi troops and police into eastern Baghdad to secure the city, DiRita said. On the other hand, he noted Iraqi forces played no role in a major US offensive in western Iraq earlier this month that sparked intense fighting with fighters who then slipped away. There are currently 139,000 US troops in Iraq, according to Brigadier General Carter Ham.