Saudi military helicopter by ‘friendly fire’ crashes in Yemen, killing 12 officers

Saudi military helicopter by ‘friendly fire’ crashes in Yemen, killing 12 officers

A Saudi helicopter crashed down during military operations in Yemen on Tuesday, killing 12 Saudi officers aboard, Saudi media reported, and a Yemeni defense ministry news website revealed the cause of this crash was friendly fire.

The Black Hawk Saudi Helicopter crashed in Marib Province, east of the capital Sanaa. The official Saudi news agency SPA quoted a statement from the Saudi-led coalition as saying, “As a result, four officers and eight non-commissioned officers from the Saudi armed forces were martyred,” it said, adding the possible actual cause of the crash was under investigation.

But the Yemeni defense ministry’s 26 September news website quoted an officer in Yemen’s military high command as saying the helicopter was shot down 5 km (3 miles) from its landing spot because of “a technical fault that caused a misreading of the air defense system, which resulted in the destruction of the plane before it landed”.

The Yemeni defence ministry’s news website said the helicopter had “misread” the air defence system, that “resulted in the destruction of the aircraft before it landed”.

But Saudi Arabia says it is too early to tell what caused the crash and it is still investigating. Meanwhile Yemeni website stated the cause of this crash was a friendly fire.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting in support of the government against Houthi rebels for two years.

It is one of the deadliest incidents involving forces from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. In 2015, a rebel missile strike on a coalition base in Marib that resulted a killing of 67 coalition soldiers, most of them belonging to UAE.

Last month, the Houthis claimed that they shot down a Saudi Apache helicopter over the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, which is under their control.

More than 7,600 people have been killed and 42,000 injured from the start of this conflict, most of these were caused by airstrikes under the Saudi-led coalition  percent of the total population forced seeking help.

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