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Iraq: U.S. Helicopter Crashes Near Tikrit, Kills Six

Baghdad, 7 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Army said a U.S. helicopter crashed today near the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit. This comes after the 2 November helicopter crash (pictured), in which 16 U.S. soldiers died. It was not immediately known what caused the helicopter to crash. The U.S. Army says six soldiers were killed and two injured when the Black Hawk helicopter went down.

Further north, the U.S. Army said guerrillas with guns and rocket-propelled grenades ambushed a U.S. convoy in Mosul today, killing one and injuring at least five soldiers.

The latest casualties from guerrilla attacks come one day after the Pentagon began alerting thousands of National Guard, Marines, and reserve troops to prepare for duty in Iraq next year as part of a rotation of forces.

Pentagon officials said under the rotation plan, the overall number of U.S. troops in Iraq will actually fall from the current number of around 132,000 to 105,000 by May.