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Iraq: Shooting Down of U.S. Apache Helicopter in the Al-Taji Region - February 2nd, 2007

 

Background

 

“The U.S. command has ordered changes in flight operations after four helicopters were shot down in the last two weeks, the chief military spokesman said Sunday, acknowledging for the first time that the aircraft were lost to hostile fire. The crashes, which began Jan. 20, follow insurgent claims that they have received new stocks of anti-aircraft weapons - and a recent boast by Sunni militants that 'God has granted new ways' to threaten U.S. aircraft. Al-Jazeera aired video late Sunday showing one of the U.S. helicopters being hit in central Iraq and said it came from an insurgent Web site. […] Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told reporters that the investigations into the crashes of three Army and one private helicopters were incomplete […]”

 

Excerpt of an Associated Press article from February 5th, 2007

Iraqi Insurgents prepare the attack

 

The Video

 

 

External view: link   file format: .rmvb

 

Aftermath Scenes from other Helicopter Attacks in Iraq

Zarqa - January 2007

Mosul - January 2006

Falluja - November 2003

Photo & Video Credits

 

The Video

 

1) On February 4, 2007, Islamist websites posted a 3.5-minute video titled “American Apache Downed in Al-Anbar District Northwest of Baghdad, in the Al-Taji region.” The video was produced by Al-Furqan, the media company of the Islamic State of Iraq, and is part of a series called “The Hell of the Byzantines [i.e. Christians] and Apostates in Iraq.”

 

The video opens with a Koranic verse: “Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people [Koran 9:14].” This is followed by a caption saying “Sighting and Ambushing the Target.” The footage shows two helicopters flying above, and three fighters - shown only for a few seconds - preparing the attack. One seems to be sighting the target, the second buries something in the ground and a third manipulates a weapon that is set on the ground and has been blacked out by the video producers (something not seen in previous films). The camera then follows the target helicopter, while the voice of Osama bin Laden is heard in the background, followed by a jihad song.

 

The next part of the film is introduced by a caption saying “The Battle with the Helicopters Begins.” Intensive gunfire is heard, accompanied by cries of “Allah Akbar,” and a rocket is fired. The footage follows the Apache until several seconds before it falls. The video next presents an excerpt from a February 2, 2007 speech by Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State of Iraq, which was posted as an audio recording on Islamist websites on February 3, 2007. The video ends with a caption saying “This helicopter was downed on Friday, Muharram 14, 1428 [February 2, 2007].” - February 5th, 2007 - Article by the The Middle East Research Institute - external link;

 

Aftermath Scenes from other Helicopter Attacks in Iraq

 

1) Smoke rises from the site where a US helicopter allegedly crashed near the town of Zarqa, north of the central Iraqi city of Najaf.  - January 28th, 2007 - Qassem Zein/Agence France Press;

2) A crane removes the wreckage of U.S. helicopter after it crashed in Mosul. Fighters shot down a U.S. military helicopter near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing two American pilots. According to witnesses, a group of armed men opened fire on OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, a two-seat, single-engine helicopter, in al-Sukar district north of Mosul, about 240 miles north of Baghdad. - January 13th, 2006 - Reuters; 

3) U.S. soldiers carry a stretcher to the scene after a U.S. Chinook helicopter, right, believed to be carrying dozens of soldiers to leaves abroad was struck by a missile and crashed west of Baghdad, near Fallujah on Sunday, killing 15 soldiers and wounding 26 others, the U.S. command and witnesses reported. - November 2nd, 2003 - Reuters;

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