Predator Crashes, UAVs Strike in Iraq

An Air Force MQ-1 Predator armed unmanned aerial vehicle crashed April 9 northwest of Balad, Iraq, at about 7:10 p.m. local time, the Air Force announced that same day. The Predator took off from Ali Base, Iraq. Mechanical failure is suspected, but a board will be convened to investigate the accident, USAF said. Also on April 9, an unnamed Air Force UAV fired a Hellfire missile that killed two “armed criminals” who were attacking Iraqi security and coalition forces with small arms in northeast Baghdad, the Multinational Force-Iraq saidin an April 9 release. The day before, an Air Force Predator, according to an April 8 MNF-Baghdad release, fired a Hellfire destroying rocket rails observed in an open field in northeastern Baghdad and later on April 8, a Hellfire launched from a USAF Predator killed “10 criminals” and wounded two others that its reconnaissance showed were carrying rocket-propelled grenades and a mortar tube in northeast Baghdad. An MND-Baghdad spokesman, Lt. Col. Steve Stover, said, “We are conducting precision air strikes against criminals firing mortars and rockets.”