June 18, 2015 / 12:09 AM / 2 years ago

Iraq denies Islamic State claim it shot down fighter plane

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s defense ministry and the U.S. military dismissed a claim by Islamic State on Thursday that it had shot down an Iraqi fighter plane.

An Iraqi security forces personnel holds his weapon while taking position during clashes with Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Ramadi June 15, 2015. Picture taken June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

“The publication of these false stories is part of an unjust psychological war waged by some media outlets supporting terrorism aimed at playing down the heroics of the Iraqi army,” the ministry said on its website.

Islamic State said on one of its Twitter accounts it had shot down the fighter north of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, which the group seized last month.

A member of an anti-Islamic State Sunni force called Sahwa (Awakening) said an Iraqi jet, a Russian-made Su-25, was seen crashing in flames after being shot down north of Ramadi.

The U.S. military dismissed the Islamic State claim, saying all U.S.-led coalition aircraft as well as Iraqi aircraft had been accounted for.

Iraq’s government relies on a U.S.-led coalition and Iranian-backed Shi‘ite militias in its fight against Islamic State, which is occupying a third of the country as well as parts of neighboring Syria.

Islamic State militants seized Ramadi last month and the city is a focal point of coalition efforts to slow the group’s advances in Iraq.

On Thursday, Islamic State insurgents fired mortars at a barracks in the town of Amiriyat al-Falluja, also in Anbar, killing a soldier and a policeman, police sources said.

Insurgents also attacked the village of al-Mazra‘a with mortars, killing five members of the Iraqi security forces.

Reporting by the Baghdad newsroom and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Andrew Roche

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