TEHRAN (FNA)- More than a dozen Saudi military personnel have been killed when allied forces in Yemen shot down a Black Hawk helicopter taking part in Riyadh’s military operation against the impoverished Arab country.
According to Al-Ikhbariya TV-channel, the crash took place in the Ma’rib province during a combat mission. The casualties include four officers and eight non-commissioned officers.
Military sources allied to Yemen’s Ansarullah movement also said the helicopter had been downed in the day in Ma’rib province in Northeastern Yemen, adding that 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.
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 added an investigation had been launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 13,100 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.
Over the past two years, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has been running state affairs and defending the nation against the Saudi aggression.
Saudis and allies have also suffered considerable casualties in the operation on Yemen as official estimates say more than 500 soldiers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have been killed since March 2015.