Seven US troops killed in Iraq helicopter crash: US official
Seven US troops were killed when the helicopter carrying them crashed in western Iraq, a US defense official said on Friday.
"It was a routine troop transport operation going from Iraq to Syria, nothing out of the ordinary," the official said.
Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity and citing initial reports, said the aircraft was a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and it crashed near al-Qaim, a town in Anbar province near the Syrian border.
As rescue teams responded to the scene of the downed aircraft, US Central Command said early reports did not incidicate that the helicopter was brought down by hostile fire.
The incident marks the first fatal helicopter crash since the US operation against the Islamic State (IS) group in 2014.
Further details of the incident were not yet known, but Central Command said an investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.
The Pentagon has acknowledged that it has about 5,200 troops in Iraq that are part of a coalition fighting IS militants.
Late last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over IS, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.