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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Helicopter escorting Pakistan president crashes in Kashmir

RIA Novosti

08/10/2007 13:04 ISLAMABAD, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Four soldiers were killed on Monday when an army helicopter escorting President Pervez Musharraf crashed over the Pakistan-controlled portion of Kashmir, local television said.

The helicopter was reportedly one of three taking Musharraf to the town of Muzaffarabad for a ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed nearly 80,000 people in October 2005.

Musharraf was travelling in another helicopter and was not hurt, an army spokesman told local television.

At least eight passengers were also injured in the accident, including the president's spokesman, Rashid Qureshi.

According to reports, the helicopter was forced to make a crash landing in the Jehlum Valley, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Muzaffarabad, due to a technical failure.

On Saturday, General Musharraf, who had pledged earlier to give up his military title if he was reelected, won a decisive victory in the country's presidential election by lawmakers. He now has to wait for Pakistan's Supreme Court to rule on his eligibility to run for president while still army chief.

Musharraf seized power in Pakistan in a bloodless military coup in 1999.

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