FIGHTING IN IRAQ
WaPo reports renewed activity:
Iraqi forces shot down a U.S. helicopter gunship in western Iraq on Thursday, just hours after U.S. fighter jets bombed what they said was “a terrorist training camp” in central Iraq.
The incidents came as U.S. ground troops wound up a massive sweep in a Sunni Muslim enclave north of Baghdad, aimed at routing out the organizers of attacks on occupation forces. Thursday’s events marked a sharp escalation of U.S. military operations in central and western Iraq, where guerrillas have intensified attacks on U.S. troops in recent weeks.
“It’s one of the largest operations since the war,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Lt. Ryan Fitzgerald said.
The downed AH-64 Apache helicopter belonged to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, a Central Command statement said. A pair of Apaches fired on “irregular forces” at the crash scene, while U.S. ground troops secured the site and rescued the uninjured two-man crew.
It was the first aircraft shot down by ground fire since Saddam Hussein was ousted two months ago. Central Command did not say exactly where it went down.
Apparently, our forces escaped the helicopter as, toward the end of the piece, we find “No Americans have been killed in the operation,” Fitzgerald said.