Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday marked the 27th anniversary of the failed US military operation to rescue 53 American hostages in Tehran by saying God and Iran "clobbered the enemy," state radio reported. Though the anniversary is not a national holiday or celebrated by most Iranians, the government annually marks the failed attempt - called Operation Eagle Claw - by the US military to rescue the hostages. Eight US servicemen died in the operation. As in past years, hundreds of mostly hard-line Iranians gathered about 600 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tehran, to protest Washington's policies at the site where a US helicopter crashed into a plane after the rescue mission was aborted, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. In Teheran, Ahmadinejad also remembered the April 25, 1980 anniversary. "On such a day, the enemy, using the most advanced weapons, invaded this land. But heavenly aides supported the Iranian nation and clobbered the enemy in the desert," the radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during a Cabinet meeting. The hostage crisis began Nov. 4, 1979, when the US embassy was seized in Tehran. One hostage was freed because of illness after the rescue attempt, and the other 52 were released as US President Ronald Reagan was being inaugurated in 1981. The Eagle Claw mission was first aborted after mechanical problems disabled two of eight US Navy and Marine Corps helicopters and a third turned back in the face of a dust storm. The five remaining helicopters were one short of the minimum needed to continue. But the operation turned from a failure into a fiery disaster when one helicopter tried to leave Desert One, a desolate rendezvous spot in Iran, in a cloud of dust but crashed into a parked C-130 cargo plane loaded with 44 Delta troops.