NPR: U.S. military helicopter carrying 7 people crashes in Iraq

Updated at 5:50 a.m. ET

A Pentagon spokesman traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says that a U.S. military helicopter crashed after hitting a power line in western Anbar province in Iraq and that all seven aboard are believed to have been killed.

Pentagon officials said the crash of the Pave Hawk helicopter occurred Thursday afternoon near the town of Qaim. It was not immediately clear if there were any survivors.

"Rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time," U.S. Central Command said in a brief statement.

NPR’s Jane Arraf reports that Iraqi military officials believe that the helicopter went down due to a mechanical fault.

The Associated Press adds:

"The U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria have an outpost in Qaim, which is located near the Syrian border. The anti-IS campaign accelerated through much of last year, as coalition and Iraq forces battled to take back a string of cities and towns.

"Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in Mosul in July. In the following months Iraqi forces retook a handful of other IS-held towns including Tal Afar in August, Hawija in September and Qaim in October. In November, Iraqi forces retook the last Iraqi town held by IS — Rawah, near the border with Syria."