Islamic State downs helicopter

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Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Militants with the Islamic State group have downed an Iraqi military helicopter near the refinery town of Beiji, killing the two pilots on board, according to officials in Baghdad.

The militants used a shoulder-fired missile to take down the Bell 407 north of Beiji, a military aviation official said.

The town, 130 miles north of the capital, is home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery.

A Defence Ministry official confirmed the attack.

This is the second Iraqi military helicopter shot down over Beiji by IS militants in a week. A n Mi-35 was downed near Beiji on Friday, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

The two incidents highlight IS’s ability to counter air operations, potentially putting at risk US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Some fear the militants might have captured some sophisticated weapons – such as ground-to-air missiles capable of shooting down planes – when they overran abandoned Iraqi army bases this summer.

European airlines including Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France, US carrier Delta Air Lines and Dubai-based Emirates changed their commercial flight plans over the summer to avoid Iraqi air space.

Published: Wednesday 8th October 2014 by The News Editor

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