DUBAI - An Iranian pilot was killed defending Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in neighbouring Iraq, Iran's state news agency said, in the first official report of an Iranian death related to an upsurge in violence there since June.
Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani, who was buried in the Iranian city of Shiraz on Friday, was killed while fighting "takfiri terrorists" in Samarra, north of Baghdad, it said, using a term for Sunni Muslim militant fighters.
There was no information in the IRNA report to indicate whether Mourjani was flying aircraft in Samarra, and whether he went there on his own initiative or on behalf of the Iranian state.
Shi'ite power Iran has said it will not hesitate to defend Shi'ite holy sites in Iraq if necessary, but it has also said Iraq itself is capable of putting down the rebellion.
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