Iran's official IRNA news agency says an Iranian pilot has been killed while fighting in Iraq. The news agency said Colonel Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani was killed while "defending" Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. It did not say whether the pilot died while flying sorties or fighting on the ground.
Father of Colonel Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani at his son's funeral
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said there were no reports of a plane being shot down in Iraq and the pilot probably died while fighting on the ground. (read Al Jazeera's report)
His death comes after Iran's declarations that it will provide its western neighbor with whatever it needs to counter the Sunni militants who are laying siege to the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Iranian officials insist their assistance is not in the form of troops, but rather of weapons and equipment if Iraq asks for them.
Funeral of Colonel Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani in Darengun village, Iran's Fars province
Based on reporting by AFP
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