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Iraq group shows body dragged from helicopter wreck

By Staff
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DUBAI, Apr 5 (Reuters) An Iraqi militant group affiliated to al Qaeda today published footage of militants dragging a burning body from what it said was the wreckage of a US helicopter downed on Saturday.

The US military said on Monday that two of its pilots died after their helicopter crashed southwest of Baghdad on Saturday.

A video posted on a Web site often used by insurgents showed militants from the Mujahideen Council pulling the body from the twisted and enflamed wreckage while they cheered 'God is Great'.

It was not clear from the footage whether the body was that of a US pilot's but the group said it belonged to that of an American. The outfit of the body, dragged for several metres (yards), was torn and it was not possible to identify if it was in military uniform.

The US military said it could not authenticate the video dated April 2.

''We are outraged that anyone would create and publish such a despicable video for public exposure,'' said Lt Col Jonathan Withington in a statement. ''The terrorists continue to demonstrate their immoral disregard for human dignity and life.'' On Monday, Al Jazeera television aired footage from the Rashedeen Army which appeared to show part of the helicopter's fuselage and rotor lying in a field. The video also showed helicopters circling the site.

Al Jazeera said it could not authenticate the video.

The Rashedeen Army had claimed the shooting near the town of Yusufiya, an area that sees considerable Sunni insurgent activity just southwest of the capital.

Insurgents have shot down several military helicopters since the US-led invasion in 2003 and losses of heavy troop carriers have accounted for some of the largest casualty figures.

Reuters PG VP0135

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