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US military copter crashes in western Iraq, all on board killed

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US troops walk as a US C-47 Chinook helicopter flies over a village south of Mosul, Iraq, on February 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

All personnel aboard a US military helicopter carrying American service members were killed in a crash in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, the US Central Command says.

The Central Command did not say how many people were killed in the crash late on Thursday, but a US military official told Reuters on Thursday the US HH-60 Pave Hawk copter was carrying seven people.

The crash, which took place near al-Qaim town near the Syrian border, did not appear to be the result of enemy activity, the command said in a statement.

"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," said Brigadier General Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations of the Combined Joint Task Force.

There has been no further details about the crash, but the Central Command said it will launch an investigation into the cause of the incident.

The US has been leading a coalition of its allies in a military campaign against purported Daesh targets in Iraq since 2014. The alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians.

Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terrorist group and retake lost territory.

Last December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in the Arab country.

However, the Pentagon announced in February that the number of US troops in Iraq will remain at just over 5,000 for the foreseeable future.

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