US Helicopter Crash In Western Iraq Kills 7 Crew Members

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A U.S. military helicopter crash in western Iraq killed all crew members aboard, defense officials confirmed Friday.

The HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter was carrying seven people when it went down over Anbar Province on Thursday night. Military officials do not suspect the helicopter was shot down, but the incident remains under investigation.

“All personnel aboard were killed in the crash,” Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement. “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.”

Another helicopter that was accompanying the downed aircraft reported the crash immediately, deploying a quick reaction force composed of Iraqi Security Forces and coalition members to the scene.

Names of the fallen will be released after next of kin have been notified, military officials said.

The incident comes as the Pentagon is winding down anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and focusing more attention on Afghanistan. It was not immediately clear what kind of mission the helicopter was doing when it crashed.

Thursday’s crash was the second fatal incident involving U.S. military aircraft in as many days. Two U.S. Navy pilots were killed on Wednesday when their F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet crashed into the ocean near Key West, Fla.

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