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'Friendly fire' kills 20 Arab coalition troops in Yemen

Troops loyal to the Yemeni government captured Zinjibar on Saturday [Getty/AFP]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2015

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An airstrike launched by a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen killed at least 20 of its own troops after pro-government forces captured the city of Zinjibar.

At least 20 Saudi-led Arab coalition troops have been killed in friendly fire as troops loyal to the Yemeni government captured Zinjibar, the capital city of the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, Yemeni security officials and pro-government fighters said Sunday. 

The troops were on their way to the city when an airstrike from their own forces killed them. This comes after three days of intense fighting against Shia rebels and their allies, the latest in a string of battlefield successes by the Saudi-backed troops.

The Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in March against Shia Houthi rebels and their allies — troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh — who control the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen.

The United Arab Emirates said Saturday that three of its soldiers were killed while taking part in a Saudi-led campaign.

The statement carried by the official news agency WAM did not say how the soldiers were killed or whether they died in Yemen.

Yemeni security officials have said that Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian and Jordanian military advisers are training hundreds of fighters at a military base near the port city of Aden.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

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