Special report:Tension escalates in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter that made a "hard landing" Wednesday apparently was shot down, the U.S. military said on Thursday.
"The initial indications appear that it was brought down by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades," U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell said.
Caldwell said earlier that nine people on board were evacuated safely by an accompanying helicopter.
On Wednesday, the pan-Arab al-Jazeera satellite television said that the helicopter crashed in the Nibaie area near the U.S. airbase of Taji, some 20 km north of Baghdad, adding that it might be shot down by insurgent fire.
Later, an Iraqi Islamic militant group called Jaish al-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the crash.
"One of the Jaish al-Mujahideen's anti-aircraft companies shot down the Black Hawk helicopter in the Taji area north of Baghdad," the group said in an Internet statement whose authenticity could not be verified.
Eight U.S. helicopters have crashed or been shot down by insurgents' fire since Jan. 20, killing 28 soldiers and civilians.