Iraqi military helicopter crashes, three crew killed


Baghdad, Oct 8 (IANS): An Iraqi military helicopter crashed Wednesday in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, leaving three of its crew dead, a provincial security source said.

Technical malfunctioning during landing apparently caused the chopper to crash while it was flying over al-Seiniyah area, just west of the refinery city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The crashed chopper was one of the three carrying food and ammunition to an army force stationed at the besieged oil refinery outside Baiji. The besieged troops have been fighting the Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS), inside the vast refinery area for months.

The other two helicopters landed at the crash site, and retrieved the bodies of the crew members, the source said.

Salahudin province is predominantly Sunni and its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of deposed and executed president Saddam Hussein.

The city of Tikrit has been under the control of the extremist Sunni militants since June 11, a day after bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the Sunni militants who took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

  

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