7 killed in helicopter crash in N. Iraq

A helicopter crashed in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, killing all passengers onboard, the regional Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) said on Thursday.

The Eurocopter

AS350 helicopter crashed near a village in Duhok province at 8:40 p.m. (1740 GMT) on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Kurdish CTS.

"An explosion inside the helicopter caused the crash, and initial information indicates that seven people onboard were killed," a Kurdish security source who asked to remain anonymous said.

The source said that the helicopter crashed near an oil field, which was not affected by the incident.

According to the Kurdish CTS statement, the Iraqi government, the U.S.-led coalition, and the Turkish government have all denied ownership of the helicopter.

The Kurdish security forces have launched an investigation into the ownership of the helicopter, the statement said, adding some of the victims were identified as militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States, and the European Union.

The Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes, and artillery bombardment in northern Iraq, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the PKK.