Iraqi helicopter shot down as 18 killed nationwide

AFP , Wednesday 2 Oct 2013

Four security force member killed when Iraqi military helicopter was shut down west of Baiji, north of Baghdad

Militants shot down an Iraqi military helicopter on Wednesday, killing four security forces members, as at least 14 people died in other violence, officials said.

The helicopter was shot down during a large-scale operation against militants in a desert area west of Baiji, north of Baghdad, killing two crew members and two soldiers who were on board, army officers said.

Helicopters are periodically hit by gunfire during operations, including one last month in which a pilot was wounded.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, a car bomb detonated near the governorate headquarters, killing two people and wounding 15.

In Nineveh province, also in the north, attacks killed three people, and soldiers shot one militant dead. Violence in Diyala province left two people dead and two wounded.

Three bombings in Baghdad, including one near an ice cream shop and another close to a park, killed at least four people and wounded 17, while another bomb exploded near a vegetable market southeast of the capital, killing two people and wounding six.

Violence has reached a level unseen since 2008, and there are fears Iraq is slipping back toward the intense Sunni-Shiite bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands.

Iraq saw a sharp spike in violence including a series of bloody sectarian attacks in September, with the UN putting the monthly death toll at almost 1,000.

The Iraqi government on Tuesday approved temporary hazard pay for security forces in seven "hot areas" including Baghdad, in a sign of the worsening security situation.

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