U.S. accused of reporting less than half its casualties in Iraq

Prensa Latina informs that official US reports on Iraq reflect less than half the numbers of soldiers killed in that war of aggression, according to an article by El Diario-La Prensa online in New York.

An article datelined San Juan, Puerto Rico, says that troops under the US command have suffered at least 4,076 fatal casualties over 799 days of action.

The information markedly contrasts with reports published by the authorities in Washington, which focus on the fallen wearing US uniforms, which totals 1,649, the article notes.

It refers to the difficulties encountered by the Puerto Rican government in obtaining a figure of total Puerto Rican casualties during the present war.

Even more difficult are estimates of the wounded, which the U.S. acknowledges are in excess of 12,600 troops, and the so-called medical casualties, about which only scraps of information emerge.

Congressman José Serrano, a New York Democrat, and Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, former colonial governor of Puerto Rico, managed to obtain a partial list enabling them to establish that almost 200 Puerto Rican casualties occurred last year, between dead and wounded.

In other events, a US helicopter was shot down today by the resistance in Iraq after being hit by automatic weapons fire from the ground, the Pentagon announced, according to an EFE report.

The helicopter crashed near the city of Baquba and the fate of its crew was unknown, the US Department of Defense informed in a communiqué.

The report added that the downed aircraft was part of a patrol along with another, which landed on a military base after suffering damages, and that both were carrying out a support mission for ground forces near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.

CNN television reported that the downed helicopter was an OH-58D Kiowa, used for spying and attack, and holds a two-man crew.

Largest Operation Yet Against The Resistance

The Iraqi government anticipates deploying 40,000 security force members in the largest operation to date against the resistance in Baghdad, according to a statement today by Sadoun al Dulaimi, minister of defense.

The official said that the contingent will include troops from the Ministries of the Interior and Defense, and its goal is to completely annihilate the insurgency.

Meanwhile, resistance actions around Baghdad resulted in nine deaths and some 20 injuries, according to Ministry of the Interior sources.

A car bomb was launched against a police patrol in the Shula neighborhood in northeast Baghdad, leaving five dead and 17 injured, most of them police officers.