BAGHDAD: A bomb fell from an Iraqi Air Force Sukhoi warplane and exploded in eastern Baghdad on Monday because of a “technical problem”, killing at least seven people, security and medical officials said.
“One of the bombs became stuck because of a technical problem, and during its (the aircraft’s) return to base it fell on three houses in Baghdad Jadida,” security spokesman Iraqi Brigadier General Saad Maan said in a statement.
The jet was coming back from a bombing run when the accident occurred, Maan said.
Officials said that the blast, which occurred near the Rasheed air base, also wounded at least 11 people.
Iraq received Sukhoi Su-25 jets from Russia and Iran last year as it sought to bolster its fledgling air force to combat the Islamic State jihadist group, which overran large parts of the country.
The Su-25s are robust aircraft designed for ground attack missions, but Iraq’s Sukhoi fleet is made up of ageing planes that have seen heavy use as Baghdad’s forces battle to push the jihadists back.
The US agreed to sell Iraq 36 F-16 warplanes, but none have been delivered so far.
The first batch of the jets has instead been sent to Arizona, where Iraqi F-16 pilots are training.
One of the pilots, Brigadier Rasid Mohammed Sadiq, was killed in a crash during an aerial refuelling exercise at the end of June.