14 US soldiers killed in Iraq helicopter crash

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The Independent Online

14 US soldiers were killed when a helicopter crashed in northern Iraq today, the military said.

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was carrying four crew members and 10 passengers when it went down during a night-time operation, according to a statement.

The military said initial indications showed the aircraft experienced a mechanical problem and there were no indications of hostile fire, but the cause was still under investigation.

The 14 soldiers killed were assigned to Task Force Lightning, the military said.

It was the deadliest helicopter crash since January 20, when a Black Hawk crashed in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad, killing 12 soldiers aboard. The military said that helicopter might have been shot down by a shoulder-fired weapon.

The deaths raised to at least 3,721 members of the US military who have died since the Iraq conflict started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.