Five Iraqi crew killed in helicopter crash on combat mission: Military

AFP
Baghdad, Iraq Published: Jul 29, 2021, 09:36 PM(IST)

Representational image Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

Military officials say the helicopter crashed near Amerli in the Salaheddin province, an area where Iraqi troops have repeatedly targeted suspected Islamic State sleeper cells

Five Iraqi troops were killed Thursday when their helicopter crashed on a "combat mission" north of Baghdad, the military said, as a security source confirmed it had been hit by ground fire.

The helicopter came down near Amerli in Salaheddin province, the military said, in an area where Iraqi troops have carried out repeated operations against suspected sleeper cells of the Islamic State group.

Also read | Rockets fired near US embassy in Baghdad

Video footage sent to journalists in Baghdad showed firefighters attempting to put out a blaze in the wreckage of the aircraft.

The security forces had launched an operation on Tuesday to "search and clear areas in the south of Kirkuk province", which borders Salaheddin, a statement on their Twitter account said.

The security source told AFP that the helicopter that came down was one of two that had been checking pylons carrying high-voltage power lines in the area, a frequent target for holdout jihadists in recent months.

As the two aircraft approached Amerli district, one of them took a "direct hit" which forced it down.

Also read | Biden announces ‘new phase’ in Iraq relations, end of ‘combat operations’

The Islamic State group lost its last territory in Iraq in 2017 after a bloody three-year campaign that put paid to its hopes of forging a transnational "caliphate" straddling the border with Syria.

But the jihadists retain sleeper cells in desert and mountain areas that they have used as launchpads for attacks in Iraq's cities.

A July 19 suicide bombing claimed by the Sunni extremists killed 30 people in a street market in a Shiite district of Baghdad.

Read in App