March 16, 2016 / 4:13 PM / 2 years ago

Iraq says three missing after Air Force plane crashes near Kirkuk

A still image taken from a video posted on a social media website shows men inspecting what is said to be the wreckage of an Iraqi Air Force plane in Hawija, northwest of Kirkuk, Iraq March 16, 2016. Social Media Website via Reuters TV

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi Air Force plane crashed on Wednesday northwest of the oil city of Kirkuk and its two pilots and a third member of the crew are missing, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

The single turbo-propeller plane was on a ‘reconnaissance and combat mission’ over territory held by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, the spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told Reuters.An investigation is underway to determine whether the plane was shot down by militants or crashed because of a technical failure, he said.

The Amaq news agency, which supports Islamic State, said the plane had been shot down and that five people on board had been killed. It posted a video showing a plane falling to the ground in the region of Hawija amid cheers from the insurgents.

The video later showed the wreckage and human body parts scattered around it.

Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Gareth Jones

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