Friday, March 16, 2018

7 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq helicopter crash

the town of al-Qa'im
Everyone on board a military helicopter that crashed in Iraq was killed, U.S. Central Command said Friday.

The HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter -- a variant of the Black Hawk -- crashed after hitting a power line in western Anbar province on Thursday.

A Pentagon spokesman traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said seven troops were on the helicopter, NPR reported Friday.

The crash, which does not appear to be a result of enemy activity, remains under investigation, according to the CENTCOM statement.

"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," said Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force -- Operation Inherent Resolve. "This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations. We are thinking of the loved ones of these service members today."

Names of the soldiers will be released by the U.S. Department of Defense after next of kin have been notified.

"We are grateful to the Iraqi Security Forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident," Braga said.
***Hundreds of US soldiers are stationed at the military base of Ein al-Assad, located in the Iraqi western province of al-Anbar, for a support and advice mission.
The helicopter went down on Thursday while providing support to Iraqi forces in the town of al-Qa'im as part of the US-led coalition's operations, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.

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