Officials say Islamic State group shoots down Iraqi helicopter near Samarra, killing 2 pilots

Iraqi officials say Islamic State group militants have shot down a military helicopter near Samarra, killing the two pilots onboard.

A senior official at the Iraqi Defense Ministry says the Sunni militants used a shoulder-fired rocket launcher to shoot down the helicopter on the outskirts of the Shiite holy city. An army official corroborated the information. Both spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.

The militants have shot down at least two other Iraqi military helicopters near the city of Beiji in recent months. It wasn't immediately clear what type of helicopter was shot down.

The Islamic State group holds about a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in its self-styled caliphate. U.S.-led airstrikes and Iraqi forces have been battling them for months.