Iraq military helicopter crashes, killing nine

  • AFP, Baghdad
  • Updated: Feb 16, 2016 17:53 IST
Iraqis mourn as they carry a coffin during a funeral in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. (AFP)

An Iraqi military helicopter crashed south of Baghdad on Tuesday killing nine people due to a “technical problem”, a security spokesperson said.

“A military helicopter of the Mi-17 type crashed because of a technical problem,” killing its crew of nine, two of them officers, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told AFP.

The Soviet-designed helicopter, which is intended for transport but can also be equipped with weapons, was en route from Iraq’s main southern city of Basra to the city of Kut, southeast of Baghdad, Rasool said.

A Kut police captain said the crash occurred in an area east of the city.

Iraq has lost multiple helicopters to accidents and ground fire in recent years, while others have been damaged.

In October 2014, militants shot down a Bell 407 north of Baghdad, killing two crew, five days after an Mi-35 was shot down in the same area, while jihadists destroyed another helicopter on the ground earlier in the year.

An overloaded helicopter crashed after delivering aid to people besieged by the Islamic State jihadist group on Mount Sinjar in August 2014, killing its pilot and injuring passengers, including a member of parliament.

Lieutenant General Hassan Karim Khudayr was killed when a military helicopter crashed north of Baghdad before IS launched a sweeping offensive in June 2014, while Iraq also lost an Mi-17 to a sandstorm in July 2010, a crash that killed five.

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