US says probing cause of drone crash in Iraq after Iran-backed militias claim to down UAV

WASHINGTON — An American drone crashed north of Baghdad, a US defense official says Friday, after Iran-backed militants claimed they fired on an unmanned aircraft flying over Iraq.

“A US UAV crashed near Balad airbase, Iraq” on Thursday night local time, the official tells AFP, without identifying the type of drone that was lost.

“Iraqi security forces recovered the aircraft. There were no injuries reported,” the official says, adding that “an investigation of the cause of the crash is underway.”

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-linked armed groups that oppose US support for Israel, said Friday that it fired on a US MQ-9 — a type of drone that can be used for both surveillance and strikes — which was operating over Iraq the day before.

“Mujahideen yesterday targeted… an MQ-9 drone belonging to the American occupation,” the group said in a statement.

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