Apache helicopter in emergency landing near Yemen border: Saudi source
‘The pilots are safe,’ but there was some damage, says one source
An Apache helicopter gunship from the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemeni rebels made an emergency landing Thursday just inside the border from Yemen, a Saudi official said, ruling out hostile fire.
“The pilots are safe,” but there was some damage, said the source, asking for anonymity.
He said the landing was “definitely not because of hostile action.”
The gunship came down in the Saudi border district of Najran, which has been targeted this week by Yemeni rebel mortar and rocket fire that killed several people.
The coalition said gunships were part of the response to that bombardment.
This is only the second reported incident involving a coalition aircraft since bombing began on March 26 against the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The day after operations began, the US military said it rescued two Saudi pilots who ejected from their F-15 warplane off Yemen's coast.
Saudi Arabia has deployed 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes in the Yemen operation.
Riyadh took action fearing that the Houthis, who seized large parts of Yemen, would take over the entire country and move it into the orbit of Iran, the kingdom’s regional rival.
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