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Iraqi Pilot Flew Military Plane That Crashed In Arizona

An Iraqi pilot who has been training in the United States for four years crashed in southern Arizona while flying an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, a spokesman for the Iraqi defense minister said on June 25.

"We have no word yet on his fate or the reason behind the crash," Brigadier General Tahseen Ibrahim told the Associated Press. "We are in contact with the Americans to get more details."

Ibrahim confirmed the pilot was Brigadier General Rafid Mohammed Hassan, but said the pilot's fate still is not known.

He said the rescue operation is difficult because the plane hit near a gas pipeline in a rural area, bursting into flames.

Hassan was the only person aboard when the plane went down during a night training mission with the Arizona Air National Guard.

Rescuers were sent to the crash site about 120 miles southeast of Tucson.

The fire sparked by the crash has since been extinguished, said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. He said no civilians on the ground were injured as a result of the crash.

Based on reporting by AP and