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Iraq: Eight Dead In U.S. Helicopter Crash

Baghdad, 8 Janury 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Eight people were killed today when a U.S. helicopter went down west of Baghdad in what the military called an emergency landing.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said everyone on board the helicopter -- four passengers and four crew -- died in the incident. The cause of the emergency, which took place near the town of Al-Fallujah, was not immediately clear.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces today began releasing detainees from a Baghdad prison as part of a goodwill gesture announced by the U.S. administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. Bremer said earlier that the first 100 detainees, all considered low-level security threats, would be released today, followed by 400 more in the coming weeks.

Two army trucks carried the first group of detainees away from the prison, as Iraqis followed the convoy in hopes of meeting up with released family and friends.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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