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News Wrap: Roadside Bomb Kills 5 U.S. Troops in Southern Afghanistan

August 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan killed five more U.S. troops today. The U.S. military didn’t release details of the attack. It came less than a week after 30 Americans died when Taliban militants shot down their helicopter. In all, at least 50 members of the NATO-led force have died so far in August.

Witness accounts of that deadly helicopter crash in Afghanistan are now emerging. Local Afghans gathered today at the crash site, a large crater littered with small pieces of the Chinook helicopter. One Afghan man said he saw the attack that downed the chopper on Saturday.

MAN (through translator): When the helicopter arrived here, it was 2:30 a.m. Around that time, the helicopter was hit by an rocket-propelled grenade from that area. Right after it was hit, it started burning and crashed.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, the Pentagon released the official list of the 30 Americans killed, including their names, ages and hometowns. They included 17 Navy SEALs and five other naval personnel, plus three Air Force special operations troops and the Army helicopter crew of five. Eight Afghans were killed as well.

In Syria, government troops killed 11 people as the crackdown on dissent intensified. Activists said it happened in a town near Lebanon. And security forces backed by tanks raided another town near the border with Turkey. At least 100 people were arrested there.

The U.S. has pledged another $17 million in famine relief for the Horn of Africa, mostly for Somalia. That makes $580 million in U.S. aid for the region so far this year. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the additional help today, and she called for efforts to break the cycle of famine.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Famine conditions in
Somalia are likely to get worse before they level off. And while we hurry to deliver lifesaving assistance, we must also maintain our focus on the future by continuing to invest in long-term food security in countries that are susceptible to drought and food shortages.

HARI SREENIVASAN: More than three-and-a-half million people in Somalia alone are now at risk of starvation.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.