Fourteen US soldiers were killed Wednesday when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed on a nighttime mission in northern Iraq, but the military said it did not appear the aircraft was shot down.
A series of bombings struck Iraqi security forces elsewhere in the north as at least 63 people were killed or found dead nationwide, including 27 who perished in a suicide truck bombing against a police station in the oil hub of Beiji.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, lashed out at American criticism over his government's inability to bridge political divisions or stop the violence, warning he could "find friends elsewhere" after a US senator called for his ouster.
He won a new endorsement from US President George W. Bush, but his remarks signaled a fraying relationship with his key backer just over three weeks before a pivotal progress report on Iraq must be presented to Congress.
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