At least 12 killed as Saudi military aircraft crashes in Yemen


A Saudi helicopter came down during military operations in Yemen on Tuesday, killing 12 officers aboard, Saudi media reported, and a Yemeni defense ministry news website said the cause was friendly fire.

The coalition said the helicopter was on a mission when it fell down in Marib Governorate in Yemen.

"As a result, four officers and eight non-commissioned officers from the Saudi armed forces were martyred", SPA said.

"The causes of the incident are being investigated", the statement added.

More 3,000 Black Hawk aircraft are in service worldwide, including 2,300 with the U.S. Army, according to manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a military campaign to dislodge Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, who seized Yemen's capital Sana'a and other parts of the country in 2014, forcing the country's internationally-recognized government to flee into exile.

More news: Wisconsin, New York governors ask Trump for help on milk

It comes amid mounting evidence of greater Iranian involvement in supporting the Houthi rebels and their allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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

Houthi rebels seized the capital Sana'a in September 2014 and continued to advance through the country, before the Yemeni army backed by the Saudi-led air campaign managed to regain the southern city of Aden, which now hosts the government and the presidential office.

Mattis told reporters while heading to the kingdom that he will push for a political resolution to end the conflict.

It was not clear if he was hinting that the United States may not be as supportive of the Hodeidah plan, or if he agreed with the coalition assessment that it would restart talks.