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BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said Sunday that the bodies of two American pilots killed when their Apache helicopter crashed near Baghdad were recovered and the aircraft was probably shot down. Three other U.S. soldiers were reported killed in Baghdad and northern Iraq.

The AH-64D Apache Longbow went down about 5:30 p.m. Saturday while conducting a combat air patrol west of Youssifiyah, about 10 miles southwest of Baghdad, the U.S. command said in a statement.

The pilots’ names are being withheld pending notification of their families.

The aircraft was assigned to Multi-National Division-Baghdad, which is led by the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas.

No unit information on the crew was released Sunday.

Yusufiyah is a Sunni-dominated city southwest of Baghdad and in the area sometimes referred to as the “Triangle of Death.”

The city has long been a problem spot for U.S. and Iraqi troops.

Saturday’s incident was the first time a U.S. helicopter has been reported shot down since January.

During a 10-day period of that month, three helicopters went down, killing 18 servicemembers. Two of the crashes were blamed on enemy fire.

An Internet posting on Saturday by a little-known insurgent group calling itself the “Lions of Islam” claimed responsibility for shooting down the Apache, but there was no way to confirm the claim’s authenticity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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