Saudi army personnel killed in Yemen chopper crash

Oceane Deschanel
Abril 19, 2017

Twelve soldiers from Saudi Arabia died in a military helicopter crash Tuesday in eastern Yemen, the Arab coalition fighting Yemeni rebels said.

"The investigations are ongoing to determine the causes of the accident".

According to preliminary information from Yemen, civilian defense forces are responsible for shooting down the Saudi helicopter.

It quoted a military statement as saying the plane came down in Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday for discussions on the Yemen war with Saudi leaders.

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In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries started carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at the request of governmental forces.

In September 2015, a rebel missile strike on a coalition base in Marib killed 67 coalition soldiers, a lot of them Emiratis. To that end, Mr Mattis has asked for the lifting of restrictions imposed by that former president Barack Obama on arms sales to the kingdom.

Seven ceasefires brokered between government and rebel forces by the United Nations have failed, while UN-backed peace talks have repeatedly broken down.

The Saudi-led coalition has recently made gains against the Houthis in western Yemen but fighting on other fronts, including Marib, has been static, with little ground changing hands.

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