Sunday, July 22, 2012

Military helicopter crashes in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A military helicopter crashed on Sunday in southeast Turkey where troops are fighting Kurdish rebels, killing three soldiers on board, an official said. Four other soldiers were injured. 

 The helicopter crashed in Hakkari province, near the border with Iraq, Gov. Orhan Alimoglu told the state-run Anadolu agency.

Alimoglu blamed the crash on an unspecified technical fault, but Firat News, an agency that is close to the rebels, claimed the helicopter was downed by rebel fire.

State-run TRT television said the helicopter was on a troop rotating mission and crashed shortly after taking off from a military outpost in Hakkari.

It was not known if the helicopter was carrying more soldiers than the seven casualties, or what type of aircraft it was.

Kurdish rebels have used northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks on Turkish targets in their decades-long fight for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast. The conflict has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people since 1984.

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