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US Air force pilot killed in plane crash in Mideast

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WASHINGTON — A U.S. Air Force pilot was killed when an F-16 crashed late Sunday night while returning to its base in the Middle East.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the jet developed a problem related to maintenance shortly after takeoff, turned around and crashed before landing. Warren said the pilot apparently turned around before engaging in any combat mission.

The crash is being investigated. Warren said it was too early to say why the pilot was unable to eject.

The U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of American military operations in the Mideast, did not disclose the identity of the pilot, but it said it did not occur in either Iraq or Syria where a U.S.-led coalition has been bombing Islamic State extremists.

Citing sensitivities of host nations, Warren would not identify where the accident occurred.

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