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Israeli Apache helicopter grounding to continue

Israeli air force Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters will remain grounded following the publication of an interim report into a fatal crash on 7 August.

Maj Gen Amikam Norkin, commander of the service, ordered the continuation of the flight ban on 24 August, after investigators submitted their initial findings into the accident.

Media reports in Israel suggest that a steering issue contributed to the crash, which killed the pilot and left the rear crew member seriously injured.

Sources indicate that the focus of the investigation is on a major issue with the tail rotor assembly, which led to a loss of control and subsequent impact with terrain.

The incident occurred when the AH-64A "Peten" was approaching Ramon air base following a routine flight.

Its pilot reported a technical problem, and as he prepared to make an emergency landing the helicopter crashed between the base's two runways.

Israel has already ruled out a connection between the crash and a previously identified problem with tail rotor blade cracks, which prompted a temporary halt in Apache operations in July.

Experts from the US Army and manufacturer Boeing are contributing to the Israeli investigation.

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