US military aircraft crashes in Iraq, casualties reported

US military aircraft crashes in Iraq, casualties reported
A US military aircraft has crashed in western Iraq, the military has confirmed, according to Reuters. Other reports indicate that up to seven people may have perished in the crash.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed the fact of the crash and the presence of US military personnel on board the aircraft. "Rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time," it said in a statement, adding that no more details were available at the time.

Local sources, cited by Lebanese-based TV network Al Mayadeen, report the aircraft was a Chinook transport helicopter carrying ammunition. It crashed in western Iraq near the border of Syria. Seven crew members were reportedly killed in the crash. The helicopter is believed to have caught fire after it hit the ground, due to the volatile nature of its cargo.

Military sources cited by various US media say the helicopter was an HH-60 Pave Hawk with seven crew members on board. The same number was confirmed by the mayor of al-Qaim, the Iraqi town near which the crash is believed to have taken place, according to Reuters. The aircraft was reportedly not on a combat mission.

An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash, CENTCOM says.

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