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2 die in downing of U.S. copter in Iraq

Seven Iraqi police officers, child killed in attacks

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. AH-64 Apache attack helicopter went down north of Baghdad on Monday, killing two crew members aboard, the U.S. military said.

It was the third time in 10 days that a U.S. helicopter has gone down in Iraq.

The helicopter was being used by the Army's Task Force Iron Horse, a military official said. The names of the dead are being withheld pending notification of relatives.

In a written statement, the military said it was "premature to determine the cause of the crash," which was in a swampy area north of Taji about 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, 2,219 U.S. troops have been killed.

A video clip showing a helicopter crashing after a missile strike has been posted on Islamist Web sites that typically have messages from insurgents in Iraq. In the clip, the group Mujahedeen Army claims responsibility for shooting down an Apache helicopter "belonging to the American enemy."

The claim of responsibility says the craft was shot down Sunday but gives Monday's date.

CNN cannot independently authenticate when or where the video was shot.

Two U.S. pilots were killed Friday when their OH-58D Kiowa helicopter was shot down near the northern city of Mosul, and 12 people -- eight of them soldiers -- were killed January 7 when a UH-60 Black Hawk crashed in northern Iraq.

Also Monday, seven Iraqi police officers and a child were killed and at least 25 people were wounded in attacks around the country that appeared to primarily target Iraqi security forces, officials said.

Insurgents killed five Iraqi policemen and the child and wounded 18 people -- including police officers and civilians -- about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Baquba, said an official with the Diyala Provincial Joint Communication Center.

The assault occurred in two phases. Gunmen attacked an Iraqi police patrol, and when the officers called in reinforcements, a car bomb exploded, causing more casualties.

Two other police officers were killed Monday morning in separate incidents in Baghdad, a police official said.

In addition, at least three roadside bombs exploded in the Iraqi capital. One explosion wounded four soldiers and one civilian near an Iraqi army convoy in eastern Baghdad.

In western Baghdad's Yarmouk neighborhood, another blast wounded two police officers on patrol, the official said.

The third explosion occurred in central Baghdad near the kind of sport utility vehicle convoy often used by Westerners, contractors and diplomats. There were no reports of casualties, but one truck was damaged, officials said.

Small number of ballots annulled

Iraqi election officials said Monday that 58 serious complaints from the December 15 parliamentary vote had been validated and the ballots from 227 boxes have been annulled.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said the serious complaints concerned results yet to be announced and wouldn't affect results -- about 95 percent -- already made public.

Full results from the election should be announced Tuesday or Wednesday, said Fareed Ayar, the panel spokesman.

The 227 ballot boxes make up less than 1 percent of the 31,700 used during the vote to elect parliament members, who will serve four-year terms.

Other developments

  • No decision has been made on whether to accept the resignation of the chief judge presiding over Saddam Hussein's war crimes trial, an official with the tribunal told CNN Monday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said judges on the tribunal will meet Tuesday or Wednesday about whether to accept Chief Judge Rizgar Amin's request to resign the top post but remain as a judge in the trial. (Full story)
  • About 500 nonviolent detainees were released Sunday from Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, the U.S. military said. A board of Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition officials reviewed the detainees' cases, according to a news release.
  • Iraqi police found seven bodies, including three in a drainage canal, Sunday in Baghdad, a police official said.
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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