A pilot from Iraq was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon jet crashed during a training mission near Safford, Arizona, U.S. military officials say.
The Arizona Air National Guard said in a website posting on September 6 that the pilot was conducting a routine mission with the Guard’s 162nd Wing when the crashed occurred around 3 p.m. on September 5.
An Iraqi Embassy spokesman in Washington identified the pilot as Major Nour Faleh Hazam Rasn Al Khazaali.
The Iraqi Air Force expressed its "deep sorrow for the loss of this hero, who was one of the best F-16 pilots and had completed all stages of training with outstanding performance."
The U.S. Air Force is training Iraqi pilots in F-16 fighters as part of an agreement with the Iraqi government. Military officials added that a board has been established to investigate the crash.
It was the second deadly crash of an Iraqi-piloted jet in the past two years connected to the 162nd Wing.
In July 2015, an Iraqi brigadier general died when his F-16 crashed during night training near the city of Douglas.
The Tucson, Arizona-based 162nd Wing, the Air Guard's main F-16 training operation, conducts training missions in southern and central Arizona.
Since 1990, it has trained pilots from several allied states, including Iraq, Singapore, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Oman, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Based on reporting by AP, Tucson.com, and AZFamily.com