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US helicopter crash in western Iraq causes fatalities, official says
(AL QAIM, Iraq) — An American HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter has crashed in western Iraq on Thursday, and at least some aboard were killed, according to a U.S. official.
The official said the aircraft went down near al Qaim in western Anbar Province.
A separate official told ABC News there were seven people onboard the helicopter.
There was no sign of hostile fire, that official said, but it is not being ruled out at this time.
It’s believed to be the first fatal helicopter crash in Iraq since the U.S. began fighting ISIS there in 2014.
In a statement, the anti-ISIS coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said, “A U.S. military aircraft has crashed in western Iraq with U.S. service members aboard. Rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time. Further details will be released when available. An investigation will be initiated to determine the cause of the incident.”
The incident occurs as the U.S. is shifting personnel and resources out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, as the war against ISIS there has wound down in recent months.
Two Americans have lost their lives in Iraq this year due to noncombat-related incidents.
There are approximately 5,262 U.S. service members in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
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