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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Militants down Iraqi helicopter

BAGHDAD – Islamic State group militants shot down an Iraqi military helicopter, officials said Saturday, killing the two pilots onboard and raising fresh concerns about the extremists’ ability to attack aircraft amid ongoing U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

The attack happened late Friday in the Shiite holy city of Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. A senior Defense Ministry official told the Associated Press the Sunni militants used a shoulder-fired rocket launcher to shoot down the EC635 helicopter on the outskirts of the city.

The EC635, built by Airbus Helicopters, is used for transportation, surveillance and combat.

The militants shot down at least two other Iraqi military helicopters near the city of Beiji in October. Some fear the militants may have captured ground-to-air missiles capable of shooting down airplanes when they overran Iraqi and Syrian army bases this summer.

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