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US F-15 Eagle Crashes In Middle East, Crew Ejects Safely

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A U.S. military aircraft F-15 Eagle performs during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2011, the International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
A U.S. military aircraft F-15 Eagle performs during a demonstration flight at the MAKS-2011, the International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter crashed Thursday during a routine training mission in the Middle East, but investigators have ruled out insurgent activity as a cause, the military said. Both crew members ejected safely.

The Air Force said that the crash happened in southwest Asia, a broad term that includes the Persian Gulf region.

A statement said rescuers made their way to the scene of the crash, and the cause of the accident was being investigated.

"We can say that it was not due to any hostile fire or insurgent activity," said Air Force spokesman Maj. James Bressendorff.

The Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho said the crew was stationed there.

"We are extremely grateful that our Gunfighters are safe," said Col. Bruce Smith, 366th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, in a statement Thursday. "However, we are confident that this incident will be fully investigated."

He did not identify the crew members.

The F-15 entered service in the 1970s. The Air Force got its first F-15E Strike Eagle version of the fighter in 1988.

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