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WorldNetDaily has obtained photos of the emergency landing of the DHL cargo plane that was hit by a terrorist’s shoulder-launched missile after taking off from Baghdad International Airport.

The images show the severe damage to the plane and include the three-man crew, none of whom were hurt in the incident.


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Emergency landing of DHL Airbus A300.

The strike, which occurred on Nov. 22, 2003, was the first successful attack on a civilian plane since the end of the Iraq war. The commercial Airbus A300 was struck on the left wing by a Strella SA-7 missile at about 8,000 feet after leaving the airport. The crew, which was bound for Bahrain, turned the crippled aircraft around and returned to Baghdad International.

The attack caused the plane to lose all hydraulics and flight controls, according to an account by DHL personnel written shortly after the incident.


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U.S. troops respond.

“After about 16 minutes,” the account said, “[the aircraft] landed heavily on runway 33L at Baghdad. This was fortunate because with no steering the aircraft veered off the runway to the left. Had they landed on 33R, veering to the left would have taken them straight into the fire station.”

Continued the account: “The aircraft then traveled about 600 meters through soft sand, taking out a razor wire fence in the process, and came to rest almost at the bottom of the sloping area between the runway and a taxiway.


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Uninjured DHL crew.

“All three crew evacuated safely down the second slide; the first one tore on the razor wire.”

Damage to the plane included one engine ingesting razor wire and the other sand. Also, said the DHL narrative, “The No. 8 axle appears to be cracked as the wheel sits at an odd angle. The bulk of the damage is the LH wing. About three meters of rear spar is missing in front of the outboard flap. The wing has bulged upwards and downwards where the initial explosion appears to have occurred. One O/B flap track is hanging in the breeze and one has a small piece of flap still attached; the rest of the flap is nonexistent. ”


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A hole in the Airbus A300.

A few days after the attack, the terrorists responsible released to the media a videotape of the hit. After showing the missile making a U-turn and homing in on the plane, the tape shows the left wing of the aircraft on fire. The terrorists are then seen making their getaway in a car.

The six-minute-long footage shows 10 insurgents with their faces concealed by checkered kaffiyeh headdresses or white scarves.


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Damaged left wing.

Said the DHL account: “The crew obviously did a fantastic job in getting the aircraft back onto the ground, and one can only assume that it was most fortunate that they were not aware of the state of the wing as they could not see it from the cockpit.”

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