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The New Arab

Yemen rebels claim to shoot down Saudi Apache helicopter

More than 6,400 Yemenis, most of them civilians, have been killed since last March [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 July, 2016

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Two Saudi air force officers were killed on Monday evening when their Apache helicopter crashed in Yemen because of "bad weather", but Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility.

Two Saudi air force officers were killed on Monday evening when their Apache helicopter crashed in Yemen because of "bad weather", Saudi sources said, but Houthi rebels have claimed to have shot it down.

Saudi state media said the aircraft went down in Marib province east of the rebel-held capital Sanaa in one of the deadliest days for the kingdom's troops in months.

The Houthi rebels have reported shooting down an Apache between Maarib and the southern Saudi region of Jizan.

Earlier, a rebel spokesman said the rebels had fired a ballistic missile at a military camp in Jizan, causing casualties and material damage.

Also on Monday, five Saudi border guards were killed in clashes with "enemy elements" who tried to infiltrate the kingdom's border with war-wracked Yemen.

The five were killed in eight hours of fighting when the Saudis confronted "enemy elements of armed groups who tried to infiltrate in several places" in the Najran area, Saudi state media said.

It said the frontier guards backed by the country's army thwarted the attempts to cross the border.

     
      Eighty-two have died in the past fave days [Getty]

Southern Saudi Arabia, especially border areas with Yemen, have come under sporadic attack since Riyadh took the lead in March 2015 in an Arab military coalition battling Houthi rebels who control northern Yemen.

Yemeni military sources, meanwhile, reported heavy fighting since Thursday on the Yemeni side of the border between loyalist forces and rebels.

They said five days of fighting in northwestern Yemen have killed 82 people, including 48 rebels.

Around 100 members of the Saudi forces and civilians have been killed in skirmishes, by artillery fire or landmines inside the kingdom's borders since the coalition launched its campaign.

More than 6,400 Yemenis, most of them civilians, have been killed since last March, and the fighting has driven 2.8 million Yemenis from their homes.

An international NGO has warned that one in three children in Yemen under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition amid a worsening food crisis and looming famine.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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