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US Drone Crashes in Northern Iraq

By VOA News
26 September 2009

The U.S. military says an American drone (pilotless aircraft) has crashed in northern Iraq, hitting the offices of one of Iraq's largest political parties.

A military spokesman, Major Derrick Cheng, says there is no indication the reconnaissance aircraft was shot down. He says it is a coincidence it struck the offices of Iraq's biggest Sunni political party.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Earlier Saturday, Iraqi security officials said they recaptured two more of the 16 al-Qaida members who escaped from a jail in central Iraq a few days ago.

Police say at least eight of the inmates have now been recaptured. Five were detained on Friday and one on Thursday.

The prisoners broke out Wednesday night from a Tikrit jail, after apparently climbing through a small window in a bathroom. Five of the escapees had been sentenced to death.

Following the escape, Iraqi authorities launched a massive search. U.S. military officials say they provided aerial surveillance and search dogs to assist in the manhunt in Tikrit and surrounding areas.

After the escape, provincial authorities fired the head of a local anti-terrorism department Colonel Mohammed Salih Jbara. Several prison guards were detained for questioning.

Tikrit, a majority Sunni Muslim city, is the hometown of the late, deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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