Kurdish militants claim to have shot down Turkish helicopter in Iraq

Incident comes amid Turkish cross-border military operations against PKK militants

In this photo provided by the Turkish Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, Turkish troops in action against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq. Turkey says it has airlifted troops for a cross-border ground operation against Turkey's Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. The Defense Ministry in Ankara says the airborne offensive in Iraq’s border region of Haftanin was launched on Wednesday following intense artillery fire into the area. The ministry says commando forces are being supported by warplanes, attack helicopters, artillery and armed and unarmed drones. (Turkish Ministry of Defence via AP)

Kurdish militants shot down a Turkish military helicopter over northern Iraq and damaged another, according to statement released to media outlets by the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Kurdistan People's Defence Forces, or HPG, said one Sikorsky helicopter crashed shortly being after suffering heavy damage in militant fire on Sunday morning, while the other managed to leave the area.

The attack took place near the town of Haftanin about 15 kilometres for the Turkey-Iraq border, the Sky News Arabia and Al Hadath news channels reported on Monday.

Al Hadath said the crew were killed when their helicopter crashed.

There was no immediate confirmation of the incident from Turkish or Iraqi officials.

The reported attack comes amid a Turkish military air and land offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq that was launched on June 17.

Turkey's operation has been condemned by Iraq, which has twice summoned Turkey’s ambassador to lodge a protest.

The HPG statement said helicopter attack was carried out to avenge one of its commanders and two Iraqi soldiers who were killed in a Turkish drone attack last week

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