DOFUK, Iraq (AP) — Several people, including militants belonging to a proscribed Kurdish rebel group, flew a mysterious helicopter in northern Iraq, according to a statement by Iraq’s Kurdish-run counter-terrorism service on Thursday. Died in a crash.
An AS350 Eurocopter crashed the night before in the Chamanke district of Dohuk province in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the counter-terrorism service said in a statement posted on social media. All passengers died, according to a statement.
Investigators at the crash site said at least seven people were on board.
The helicopter was carrying militants affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the statement said. The case is shrouded in mystery as no party has yet claimed ownership of the military helicopter.
The Iraqi government, the US-led coalition and Turkey had been contacted by Iraq’s Kurdish regional government about the crash, but each party denied that the helicopter belonged to them, the statement said.
PKK spokesperson Zagros Hiwa said the group did not own the helicopter and was investigating the incident. He also questioned the presence of PKK militants on board, suggesting that he may have a coalition helicopter carrying fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), another PKK-affiliated organization operating in Syria. said there is.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition declined to comment, saying the crash was outside the coalition’s operational range.
An official with the Turkish Defense Ministry said initial reports that the helicopters were Turkish-made were “completely untrue” and said there had been no flights of helicopters belonging to the Turkish military in the area.
The PKK has been in rebellion against Turkey since the 1980s and is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
PKK militants have established safe havens in northern Iraq where they roam freely and are subject to frequent Turkish attacks.
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