250 Dead After Daylong Battle
U.S. and Iraqi soldiers killed 250 militants Sunday in a day of fighting in Najaf. According to an Iraqi official, the battle with the previously unknown militia involved tanks, jets and helicopters, one of which was shot down.
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NAJAF, Iraq — U.S. and Iraqi forces killed some 250 gunmen from an apocalyptic Muslim cult on Sunday in a battle involving U.S. tanks and aircraft near the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf, Iraqi police, army and political sources said.
Two Americans were killed, the U.S. military said, when an attack helicopter went down during the day-long battle in what was one of the strangest incidents of the four-year conflict. Iraqi officials said the helicopter seemed to be shot down.
According to one Iraqi political source, hundreds of fighters drawn from both Sunni and Shi’ite communities were still fighting. A Reuters reporter at the scene, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, saw U.S. tanks and heard blasts after dark and an Iraqi officer said F-16 jets were bombing the area.
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