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Wed, Dec 13, 2006

Another Marine Helicopter Is Down In Iraq

US Military Reports 18 Injuries

A US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion (file photo of type below) conducting routine passenger and cargo operations in Iraq's Anbar province made a hard landing on Monday injuring 18 according to a statement from the US military. Nine were treated and immediately returned to duty.

This is the second recent accident involving a Marine helicopter in the region. On December 3, a CH-46 Sea Knight made an emergency water landing near the shore of Lake Qadisiyah killing four. The military attributed the crash to mechanical difficulties.

Officials say Monday's incident did not appear to involve hostile fire.

The Anbar province is a hotbed of military activity for many Sunni Arab insurgent groups. The region shares borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Those shared borders make it easy for militants to enter the country making Anbar province very attractive as a launching point for insurgent military operations.

The region was also the site of last year's worst helicopter accident in Iraq since the US invasion began. The January 2005 accident, also involving a CH-53E Super Stallion, killed thirty marines and one sailor. The investigation continues into that crash, but spokesmen have said they were unaware of any enemy action that may have caused it.

Military officials haven't released the exact location of Monday's hard landing saying the incident is still under investigation.

FMI: www.marines.mil

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