September 15, 2008 / 3:29 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Pentagon denies Pakistan fired on US helicopters

(Adds fresh quotes and background)

WASHINGTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Monday denied reports that Pakistani troops fired on two U.S. military helicopters after they crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and forced them to turn back.

“I’ve checked into that and find it to be a spurious report,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. “Did not happen. I’ve checked all the places that would know about something like that and it doesn’t appear to be accurate.”

Whitman was speaking after Pakistani security officials said U.S. helicopters were fired upon near Angor Adda, a village in the tribal region of South Waziristan where officials say U.S. commandos in helicopters raided a suspected al Qaeda and Taliban camp earlier this month.

“(I) cannot find any mission that correlates to the report I saw out of Pakistan. I can’t find any (military) report of helicopters being fired upon,” Whitman said.

Pakistani military spokesman Major Murad Khan said there had been shooting. But he denied that American helicopters had crossed into Pakistani airspace and said Pakistani troops were not responsible for the firing.

Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said in a strongly worded statement last week that Pakistan would not allow foreign troops onto its soil and Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be defended at all costs. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kristin Roberts)

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