Two senior Houthi officials said their fighters took down an Apache attack helicopter in a northern Yemen area bordering Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning — a claim that a Saudi official appeared to dispute.
The origin of the helicopter and the identity and condition of its pilot were not provided by the Houthi officials. The alleged incident occurred in Al Buoke, Saadah province.
When asked about the Houthi claim, a Saudi official said Thursday that a Saudi Apache helicopter did make an emergency landing on the Saudi side of the border on Thursday, but said “hostile action” had nothing to do with it.
The helicopter was slightly damaged, and both of the craft’s pilots were safe, the Saudi official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official did not say how the helicopter was damaged.
The attack came a day after Yemen called for help from international ground forces, accusing rebels of “barbaric violations against a defenseless population.”
“We urge the international community to quickly intervene by land forces to save Yemen,” Yemeni Ambassador Khaled Alyemany said in a letter to the United Nations Security Council.
Houthi militias are increasingly blamed for some attacks, including one this week where shells struck boats trying to flee the southern Yemeni city of Aden, killing more than 50 people, Alyemany said.
The letter accused rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh of “targeting anything that moves in the city of Aden, preventing medical teams and volunteers from reaching the injured and killing humanitarian agents.”
Forces supporting President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, backed by airstrikes, battled Houthi fighters, who took control of the port, Yemeni officials said.
The clashes are the latest in Yemen’s months of violence, which exploded before Hadi’s ouster from Yemen by the Iranian-backed Houthis.
Hadi and forces loyal to him haven’t given up, battling the Houthis with the help of Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes. The Saudis say they want to restore what they call Yemen’s legitimate government, led by Hadi.