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12 Saudi officers killed in helicopter crash in Yemen

Published Apr 18, 2017 09:41pm


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The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen said one of its helicopters crashed in eastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing 12 Saudi officers in one of the deadliest incidents for the kingdom's troops since the war began more than two years ago.

The Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the eastern province of Marib, the coalition said, adding that it is investigating the circumstances. The incident happened as US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to discuss the Yemen war with Saudi leaders.

The coalition of mostly Arab countries has waged a campaign to dislodge Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, who seized Yemen's capital and some other areas in 2014 and forced the internationally-recognised government to flee the country.

The war has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 civilians and led to the displacement of some 3 million Yemenis. Dozens of Saudi soldiers have been killed in cross-border attacks from Yemen.

The single deadliest incident for coalition forces killed 45 troops from the United Arab Emirates in September 2015, when a rebel missile hit a weapons depot also in Marib. It was the deadliest day for its military in the UAE's 44-year history. Ten Saudis were killed in the blast too. Bahrain also lost five soldiers, though it was not clear if they were killed in the same incident.

Mattis told reporters while heading to the kingdom that he will push for a political resolution to end the conflict. He said the Trump administration's goal is for the crisis “to be put in front of a UN-brokered negotiating team and try to resolve this politically as soon as possible.”

He also echoed past Saudi accusations that Houthis have been receiving arms from Iran, saying that the Iranians have supplied Houthis with missiles they use to fire on Saudi Arabia.

Mattis is the highest-level Trump administration official to visit the kingdom. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, met Trump at the White House last month.

Multiple rounds of UN-brokered peace talks have failed to bridge the gap between the warring parties in Yemen. President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi insists on the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions which stipulate that the Houthis pull their militias from the cities and hand over heavy weapons, while the Shiite rebels demand on a power-sharing deal before taking any security-related steps.

Hadi's government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, has regained control over southern Yemen, but has however failed to restore law and order in that part of the country as the extremist Islamic State group and al-Qaida militants have grown in numbers and expanded their footprints.

Over the past weeks, fighting has been intensified in the western coastline regions. Coalition officials say they are preparing for an all-out assault to take control of the vital Red Sea port city of Hoedida, considered the lifeline for Houthis and their landlocked base in northern Yemen.


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Comments (14) Closed

Desi Apr 19, 2017 04:44am

Infighting could be the problem.

Qaiser Apr 19, 2017 05:06am

Saudis should leave the Yemenis alone.

shabat Apr 19, 2017 05:13am

They were there to kill innocent civilian.

Saima Khan janjua Apr 19, 2017 07:35am


qaiser Apr 19, 2017 09:04am

Saudis should leave the Yemenis alone.

Farhan Apr 19, 2017 09:30am

Salute Yamen

A HELPLESS PAKISTANI Apr 19, 2017 09:49am

What Saudi officers are doing in Yemen? This is going to happen when you do fingering.

Viking Star Apr 19, 2017 12:32pm

I don't understand why the Saudis are fighting this war "casually". If the really want to re-instate internationally recognized Yemeni government, they should go "all out" against the rebels and wipe them off.

on FLIP SIDE Apr 19, 2017 12:47pm

War is a costly sport....

abbas Apr 19, 2017 01:43pm

well done Yemen

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Apr 19, 2017 02:06pm

What a great tragedy?

Khan Apr 19, 2017 02:28pm

Saudi must stop killing innocent yamanies. They should save palastenians.

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Apr 19, 2017 06:22pm

so called Islamic country has no human ethics by fighting innocent children and women

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Apr 19, 2017 06:23pm

instead of saving Palestine, the Saudi is killing innocent human/children/woman. So what a cowardice act it is?