Thirty US Marines and one sailor were killed on Wednesday in a helicopter crash, and six more troops were killed in action, in what has been the single deadliest day for US forces in Iraq.
The Marine helicopter crashed while on a routine mission near the remote western city of Ar Rutbah, close to the border with Syria and Jordan. A military search and rescue team is at the site, and the cause of the crash is being investigated. In Washington, the head of Central Command, General John Abizaid, said he did not know of any enemy action in the area, and said there had been bad weather. Also, in western Iraq, the military said four Marines were killed in action in al-Anbar province. To the north, one soldier was killed and two others were wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack (near Ad Duluiyah). And in Baghdad, a soldier was killed and two others injured in a bomb blast. President Bush said Americans make enormous sacrifices to spread freedom, and he offered his condolences to the troops' families