A Saudi military Black Hawk helicopter has crashed in Yemen, killing at least 12 military personnel, Saudi's SPA news agency reported on Tuesday.
According to Al Arabiya the helicopter was shot down. Saudi Arabia's SPA news agency confirmed the account on Tuesday. However, there was no comment on the reason behind the incident.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 18, 2017
The Saudi SPA news agency made the following announcement:
"the Coalition Forces Command in Support of Yemen Legitimate Government announced today that, on Tuesday morning 21/7/1438H (18/4/2017), a Black Hawk helicopter of the Saudi Armed Forces crashed while on a mission in Marib. The crash resulted in the martyrdom of four officers and eight rank officers of the Saudi armed forces. The investigations are ongoing to determine the causes of the accident. The Command pray to Almighty Allah to receive their souls into His mercy."
Military sources allied to Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement said the helicopter had been downed earlier in the day in Ma’rib province in northeastern Yemen, PressTV adds. They said at least 13 people, including military personnel from Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region, were on board the copter when it crashed. The Saudi media said 12 troops were killed.
Military officials in Saudi Arabia swiftly confirmed the downing but said it was mistakenly targeted by a missile interception system in Ma’rib that was operated by the United Arab Emirates. Yemenis said, however, that armed forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied to Houthis, shot down the aircraft with surface-to-air missiles.
Riyadh said the fatalities included Saudi special forces and crew members. It said an investigation had been launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Saudi Arabia launched its campaign against Yemen in March 2015 with the alleged goal of pushing back the Houthis from the capital, Sana’a, and to reinstate a Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the president who has resigned and is a staunch ally of Riyadh. The campaign, which lacks any international mandate and has faced increasing criticism, has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians.