US soldiers, arriving at the scene, forced away reporters who beat them to the crash site, confiscating their film. There are reports of local Iraqis looting the crash site and dancing jubilantly. The footage that was taken may never come to light, but it sounds like something straight out of Mogadishu.
"The Americans are pigs. We will hold a celebration because this helicopter went down -- a big celebration. The Americans are enemies of mankind," said Iraqi wheat farmer Saadoun Jaralla near the crash site.
In Falluja a roadside bomb hit a convoy of U.S. soldiers in civilian vehicles. At least one vehicle was ablaze at the scene, where crowds gathered to celebrate and shout anti-U.S. slogans. Television pictures showed a gleeful youth wearing a U.S. Army helmet. Others danced on wreckage.
Although a final casualty tally is unknown, it is clear that today has been the single most deadly day for US soldiers in Iraq since Bush declared active combat to be over.
*Final casualty totals: 19 dead today. The second deadliest day in Iraq yet, including the worst days of the invasion.*