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Middle East

Turkey helicopter crashes in Kurd region; 4 killed

In this Oct. 15, 2011 photo, released by the Turkish Presidency Press Service, military helicopters fly over Hakkari province near the border with Iraq where Kurdish rebels killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 others early Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011. AP

ANKARA, Turkey: A Turkish paramilitary helicopter crashed Sunday in a southeastern region where troops are fighting Kurdish rebels, killing four security personnel on board, officials said. Eight others were injured.

The S-70 Sikorsky helicopter, belonging to Turkey's paramilitary police force, crashed while landing near an outpost in Hakkari province, close to the border with Iraq, the military said in a statement posted on its website. It was carrying four crew members and 11 security personnel.

The military said the helicopter experienced a loss of power and crashed. But Firat News, an agency that is close to the rebels, claimed the helicopter was downed by rebel fire.

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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