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Tue, May 17, 2005

RAF C130 Shot Down By AAA, According To UK Report

Ten Lost In January 30th Mishap

Iraqi insurgents using outdated anti-aircraft artillery were responsible for shooting down a Royal Air Force C130 north of Baghdad, Iraq, January 30th. All ten military personnel on board were killed.

The downing of the Hercules had been at the center of an intense investigation that, early on, ruled out the possibility of a bomb having been planted on board.

Contrary to earlier reports that the C130 (file photo of type, below) was flying above 15,000 as it flew northwest of Baghdad, new information obtained by the Daily Telegraph indicates the aircraft may have been no more than 150 feet above the ground when it was hit by 20mm AAA fire.

"It was shredded by a multi-barrelled 20mm canon," an unnamed British military official told the London paper. "They have worked out that's what caused the crash."

Specifically, military officials in London believe the Hercules was brought down by a 1960s-era Soviet-made Zu-23 operated by an insurgent group called Ansar al-Islam. The group released a video showing the aircraft, apparently on fire, plunging to the ground. It was, at the time, the British military's biggest loss of life in Iraq since the US-led invasion began in March, 2003.

FMI: www.raf.mod.uk/rafhome.html

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