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14 US Soldiers Die in Helicopter Crash in Northern Iraq


The U.S. military says an American helicopter has crashed in northern Iraq, killing all 14 soldiers on board.

The military says initial indications are that the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed Wednesday as a result of a mechanical malfunction. The military says there are no indications of hostile fire. An investigation into the crash is underway.

In the northern city of Baiji, Iraqi police say a suicide truck bomber attacked a police station, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens more. The victims include both police and civilians.

Tuesday, 15 former aides of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein went on trial in Baghdad. The former officials are charged with crimes against humanity for the killing of tens of thousands of Shi'ites who rebelled against Saddam following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The defendants include Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali." He and two other defendants have already been sentenced to death for their role in the slaughter of up to 180,000 Kurdish villagers in northern Iraq in the 1980s, also known as the "Anfal" campaign.

Iraqi Shi'ites in the south and Kurds in the north rose up against Saddam after his troops were driven from Kuwait by a U.S.-led coalition. The United States created a haven for Kurds in the north.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush had encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam. But, he said he did not order a full-scale U.S. invasion of Iraq because he feared it would lead to the break-up of the Iraqi state.

Some information for this report was provided by AP

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