US helicopter crashes in western Iraq

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A US military aircraft with the American service members aboard has crashed in western Iraq late Thursday, the US Central Command says.

It says “rescue teams are responding” at the scene, and an investigation will be held to determine the cause of the crash. It provided no further details.

Two US officials said a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed near the town of al-Qaim, Anbar province, Reuters reports.

The town’s mayor told the news agency that seven people were on board the aircraft.

The US military says there are more than 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq as part of the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS).

They include trainers, advisers and special forces.

The US has had a troop presence in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, reaching 168,000 at its peak in September 2007.