A Russian-made Iraqi military helicopter crashed south of Baghdad due to a “technical problem” on Tuesday, killing at least nine people, officers said.
“A military helicopter of the Mi-17 type crashed because of a technical problem,” killing its crew of two officers and seven non-commissioned officers, army Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told AFP.
The Soviet-designed helicopter, which is intended for transport but can also be equipped with weapons, was en route from Iraq’s main southern city of Basra to the city of Kut, southeast of Baghdad, Rasool said.
A Kut police captain said the crash occurred in an area east of the city.
It is not the first Iraqi military helicopter crash in recent years.
In August 2014, an overloaded helicopter crashed after delivering aid to people besieged by the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group on Mount Sinjar, killing its pilot and injuring passengers including a member of parliament.
In April 2014, a military helicopter crashed north of Baghdad, killing Lieutenant General Hassan Karim Khudayr.
Iraq also lost an Mi-17 to a sandstorm in July 2010, a crash that killed five.
Iraqi military helicopters have also been damaged or destroyed by ground fire from militants.