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American Forces Press Service

31 Marines Die in Helicopter Crash

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2005 -- Thirty-one Marines died today when their helicopter crashed in western Iraq early today.

The transport helicopter, from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, was ferrying personnel from the 1st Marine Division when it went down near Ar Rutbah. Military officials had few details as to the cause of the crash, and an investigation into the incident is currently under way.

"Obviously, any time we lose life, it is a sad moment," President Bush said during a White House press conference today, referring to the crash.

Elsewhere in Iraq, five other servicemembers were killed today in Iraq, including four Marines and a soldier.

Four Marines with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit were killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in the Anbar province.

Military officials said the soldier killed today was a member of a 1st Infantry Division combat patrol that came under attack by anti-Iraqi forces using rocket-propelled grenades near Duluiyah.

The attack also wounded two others.

The injured soldiers were evacuated to a Multinational Force medical facility, where one soldier was listed in serious condition. The other soldier is in stable condition.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

Also in Iraq today, two car-bomb attacks wounded seven U.S. soldiers, military officials in Baghdad report.

At about 10:30 this morning a car bomb exploded on the eastbound access road of the Baghdad International Airport. The attack wounded four soldiers. An up- armored Humvee was also damaged in the incident.

Hours later, three other soldiers were wounded when a second car bomb exploded at about 2:30 p.m. The second attack happened on the same road that leads to the Baghdad airport.

The wounded were evacuated to a military medical facility. The area was secured following the attack, and the road to the airport was temporarily closed. Both attacks are under investigation.

(Compiled for Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)


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