Iraqi copter crashes on way to aid trapped Ezidis

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ERBIL, Iraq - An Iraqi helicopter crashed while carrying aid to Ezidis trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, an Iraqi MP's aide told The Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Vian Dakhil, the only Ezidi deputy in the Iraqi parliament, was on the helicopter along with refugees and journalists and all 20 of them survived the crash with injuries but the pilot died, said Hassan Omar, Dakhil's chief of staff.

The Iraqi military said a technical failure caused the MI-17 helicopter to fall.

Armed groups linked to the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, captured Iraq's Sinjar and Rabia in the Nineveh province last week after fierce clashes, forcing thousands of Iraqis including Turkmen, Arabs and Ezidis to flee.

The U.S. has been hitting IS targets since U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the military to carry out airstrikes last week in support of U.S. personnel in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, and forces in Iraq.

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