US soldiers killed in Faluja

Two US soldiers were killed and seven others wounded early on Tuesday when they came under fire in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the US Central Command (Centcom) has said.

    The wreckage of the helicopter in

    Iraqi fighters used rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and small arms in the attack.


    Witnesses told Aljazeera that after a US checkpoint came under fire, a US helicopter flying near the scene of fighting was shot down by an RPG.


    They said they saw US soldiers evacuating the wounded out of the helicopter.


    The Centcom statement, however, said that a US Army medical evacuation helicopter was damaged during the clashes when a Bradley Fighting Vehicle struck it while maneuvering into a firing position.


    The damaged helicopter was quickly removed from the scene after the clash.


    The Centcom statement also said that US troops killed two of the fighters and captured six others. It claimed that the fighters fired from inside a mosque.


    US forces stepped up their security measures after the attack by setting up checkpoints backed by tanks and armoured vehicles near the city, our correspondent said.


    No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But anti-US sentiments are on the rise in Fallujah, 50 km from the capital, Baghdad. 


    People in Fallujah are increasingly talking about jihad, or holy war, against the occupying forces and refer to the fighters who conducted the operation as “mujahideen”, our correspondent said.


    People shouted “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Iraq” as a convoy of US tanks rolled through the city.


    It was the second attack reported recently from Fallujah by US troops. Last Wednesday, US soldiers killed two Iraqis who fired anti-tank rockets at an armoured vehicle there, local residents said.


    On Monday, two US soldiers were killed and several others wounded in an ambush and explosion near Haditha, 180 km northwest of Baghdad.


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