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Iraqi Helicopter Shot Down During Military Operation


A man walks on the rubble of a mosque following an explosion near Baghdad amid an upsurge in violence. (file photo)

A man walks on the rubble of a mosque following an explosion near Baghdad amid an upsurge in violence. (file photo)

Iraqi officials say gunmen have shot down a military helicopter during an operation against insurgents north of Baghdad.

The officials said at least two Iraqi crew members and two soldiers on board the aircraft were killed. The helicopter was providing aerial support to troops on the ground during a gun battle on October 2 with militants outside the city of Tikrit, some 80 kilometers north of the capital.

The fighting was part of a military operation against insurgents launched recently in Sunni-dominated areas in central and northern Iraq.

There has been a spike in violence in recent months between Iraq's Sunni Muslims and members of the Shi'ite majority. The violence has raised fears of a return to the all-out Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian conflict that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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