Officials: Video Posted On Website 'Very Convincing'
ANN REALTIME REPORTING 02.13.07 08:30 EST: A
video posted last Friday on a web forum popular with Islamic
militants depicting the downing of a helicopter by a missile likely
holds the clues to the fate of a US CH-46 Sea Knight (file photo
below). The helicopter crashed last week claiming
the lives of all seven aboard.
The group claiming responsibility for the video calls itself the
Islamic State in Iraq, an umbrella group of insurgent groups in the
country including al-Qaida.
At a news conference Monday US Lieutenant General Douglas Lute,
chief operations officer for the Joint Staff said, "This enemy is
very astute in the use of the media. He has in the past had a
pattern of posting things on the Web sites and claiming
responsibility for attacks that did or did not occur. I'd be very
cautious about drawing conclusions from things that are posted on
Now, it appears the US military has changed its mind on that. On
the strength of the video, officials told CNN it's likely the
chopper was brought down by some sort of
Previously, military leaders in Iraq had said the helicopter
experienced a mechanical failure based in part on statements from
soldiers first on the crash scene.
But, further examination of the
wreckage was made impossible by the soldiers who, unable to
transport them back to base, destroyed the undamaged components of
the chopper to deny their use by insurgents.
The jumpy, approximately two minute-long video shows what
appears to be a twin-rotor helicopter resembling a Sea Knight
flying overhead. A few moments into the video, an object trailing
smoke and fire rapidly approaches the helicopter from below and
Although the video isn't clear enough to show the object
striking the aircraft, just after the object appears in view, an
explosion is seen aboard the chopper, and debris is seen falling
The craft continues flying for a few moments, but eventually,
with a growing smoke trail, it drops behind a line of trees before
bursting into flame and hitting the ground.
Tuesday, after reviewing the video, officials have told CNN they
found it "very convincing," and now say the chopper -- said to be
transporting medical supplies -- was likely downed by hostile
This brings to six the number of helicopters -- two of them
civilian craft operated by private security firms -- downed by
enemy fire since January 20.
The military has said it's reviewing and modifying tactics for
the use of choppers in the country.