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Old 04-05-2006, 08:12 AM   #1
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Default Video shows US pilot being dragged

CAIRO, Egypt - A poor-quality video posted on the Internet Wednesday in the name of an extremist group claimed to show Iraqi insurgents dragging the burning body of a U.S. pilot on the ground after the crash of an Apache helicopter.

The U.S. military said it could not confirm the authenticity of the video.

The video, posted by a group calling itself the Shura Council of Mujahedeen, claimed that its military wing shot down the craft, which the U.S. military said went down Saturday.

The footage in the video, which was e-mailed to reporters, was blurry but the helicopter could be clearly seen. It was not clear if the man being dragged in the video was wearing a U.S. military uniform.

But the extremist group, in audio and a statement attached to the video, said he was a U.S. helicopter pilot.

According to statements on Islamist Web sites, the Mujahedeen Shura Council was organized in January to consolidate al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent groups. The move was seen as an effort by Iraqi insurgents to lower the profile of al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, whose mass attacks against Shiite civilians have tarnished the image of the insurgents among many Iraqis.

Separately, the U.S. military in Baghdad said Wednesday it had confirmed that the two pilots in the downed helicopter had died, and it had recovered "all available remains found on the scene, given the catastrophic nature of the crash."

The military statement said that although "reports of a Web site video suggest that terrorists removed part of a body from the crash site, the authenticity of the video cannot be confirmed."

"We are outraged that anyone would create and publish such a despicable video for public exposure," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington.

The AH-64D Apache Longbow crashed due to possible hostile fire west of Yousifiyah while on combat patrol, the military said.

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