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June 25, 2015

Iraq’s F-16 fighter jet crashed in US during night training mission

An Iraqi Air Force's F-16 fighter jet has reportedly crashed in Arizona near the US-Mexico border during a night training mission.

By Samseer M

An Iraqi Air Force’s F-16 fighter jet has reportedly crashed in Arizona near the US-Mexico border during a night training mission.

According to the US Military officials and the Iraq Government, an Iraqi student pilot was flying the aircraft that collapsed near the Douglas Municipal Airport, in the city of Douglas.

The pilot was the only person on board and his status remains unknown.

Iraq Defence Ministry spokesperson brigadier general Tahseen Ibrahim was quoted by Associated Press as saying: "We have no word yet on his fate or the reason behind the crash.

"According to the US Military officials and the Iraq Government, an Iraqi student pilot was flying the aircraft."

"We are in contact with the Americans to get more details."

He also added that the rescue operation faces difficulties since the aircraft hit a gas pipeline and sparked a fire.

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Officials said that the pilot was one of more than 40 students involved in a training programme in Tucson by the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing.

The trainees are from Iraq, Singapore, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Oman, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Earlier, there were reports that two F-16 fighters were involved in the crash.

However, Arizona Air National Guard spokeswoman 2nd lieutenant Lacey Roberts confirmed that two aircraft were involved in the mission, but only one aircraft met with the accident.

The Iraqi Defence Ministry stated that an investigation into the cause of the accident is under way.

Iraq ordered 18 F-16s in 2011 and 18 more in 2012, while the guard started training Iraqi pilots in 2012.

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