- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2006

12:04 p.m.

BAGHDAD — A U.S. helicopter went down today in a lake west of the Iraqi capital, killing one Marine and leaving three service members missing in the volatile Anbar province, where an Air Force fighter jet crashed last week.

The military said the helicopter, which carried 16 persons, was not believed to have been shot down but made an “emergency landing near the shore of Lake Qadisiyah in which the pilots maintained control of the aircraft the entire time.”

Twelve passengers survived; a Marine was pulled from the water, but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, and three service members were missing.

A U.S. fighter jet crashed last week in a field in Anbar, killing the Air Force pilot on board, and over the weekend, at least 10 American service members died, including five in Anbar.

U.S. forces recently acknowledged that their stepped-up effort to stop a wave of Sunni-Shi’ite violence in Baghdad had failed. On Nov. 23, a bombing and mortar attack killed 215 persons in Baghdad’s Shi’ite district of Sadr City, the deadliest single attack during the Iraq war.

On Saturday, a triple car bombing struck a food market in a predominantly Shi’ite district of Baghdad, killing 68 persons, police said.

Drive-by shootings and a suicide car bomber killed at least seven Iraqis and wounded five today. American forces also said they killed two militants and destroyed a vehicle packed with explosives.

“We condemn in the strongest language the recent car bombings, attacks and retribution killings by extremists against peaceful Iraqis in Baghdad,” U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American military commander in Iraq, said today in a joint statement.

“The true enemies of all Iraqis are the murderers who carry out these senseless and cowardly attacks, regardless of sect, tribe or ethnicity. They are terrified of progress in this country and are determined to sow sectarian discord for their own selfish agenda,” they added.

“We implore all Iraqis not to become pawns of those who seek to destroy you and your country. Do not allow yourself to be drawn down the road of senseless brutality by striking back.”

In today’s worst attack, suspected militants killed three government agricultural engineers and their driver in a drive-by shooting as they headed to work in the morning in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad. A similar attack killed a man and woman driving in a town in the same area.

In the northwestern city of Mosul, a suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. military convoy and wounded five nearby Iraqi civilians, said Dr. Bahaldin al-Barki, who works at the hospital where they were taken.

In northern Baghdad, American forces killed two insurgents and detained six during a raid on buildings where insurgents with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq were making car bombs, the U.S. command said. A weapons cache including artillery rounds and AK-47s also was found.

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