January 23, 2007

Ansar al Sunna Claims Downing of Blackwater Helicopter

The Army of Ansar al Sunna, a Salafist terror organization in Iraq with ties to al Qaeda, has claimed the downing of a Blackhawk helicopter over Iraq. The U.S. military has confirmed that a helicopter operated by "Blackwater, USA" crashed today in Baghdad and that five civilians were killed.

Along with the claim, the terrorist group posted several pieces of photo identification which they claimed to belong to one of the pilots. We'll go ahead and hold that identification, since the Army of Ansar al Sunna has posted false reports in the past. Other terror organizations have also posted the IDs of supposedly "dead" Americans, when the soldiers were alive and well. I certainly hope this man got out alive.

While Blackwater is hated by some on the Left, it should be remembered that these are Americans providing a critical service to those trying to rebuild the war-torn country: security.

What's unique about this is the sheer speed of the claim. The downing of the helicopter, the posting of the IDs, and claim of responsibility were made on the same day.

AP: A helicopter owned by the private security firm Blackwater USA crashed Tuesday in central Baghdad, and five civilians were killed, a U.S. military official said. A senior Iraqi defense official said the aircraft was shot down over a predominantly Sunni neighborhood.

The Iraqi official, who would not allow use of his name because the information had not been made public, said a gunman with a PKC machine gun downed the small helicopter of a private security firm Tuesday afternoon over the heavily Sunni Fadhil neighborhood in north-central Baghdad, where witnesses reported clashes between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces.

There were casualties, the official said, but would give no details.

In Washington, a U.S. military official said Blackwater representatives responded to the crash in central Baghdad, along with American military. The official, who demanded anonymity because the details have not been made public, said the cause of the crash was not known and that it was too early to tell if the crash was linked to the downing Saturday of a U.S. Army helicopter that killed a dozen U.S. troops.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:38 PM | Comments |