An Iraqi helicopter was shot down by gunmen, killing four security forces members during a military operation against insurgents in the desert, army officers said Wednesday.
Two soldiers and two crew members were killed when the helicopter they were in was shot don in the desert area west of Baiji, north of Baghdad, Agence France Presse reported.
Gunfire periodically brings down Iraqi helicopters during military operations, according to AFP.
Violence in Iraq has reached a critical level in 2013, sparking fears that the country is slipping back towards the brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian unrest that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis , AFP said.
The Iraqi government approved on Tuesday hazard pay for security forces in seven “hot areas” including Baghdad, in a sign of the worsening security situation, AFP reported.