Saudi officers killed in helicopter crash in Yemen

Saudi officers killed in helicopter crash in Yemen

The coalition said it was now investigating the cause and circumstances of the crash.

Washington wants a return "as quickly as possible" to UN-backed Yemen peace talks, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said as he began a Middle East tour Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.

Areas of the governorate east of the capital, Sanaa have seen recent fighting between Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition and rebel alliance forces.

At least 10,000 people have been killed and more than 3 million displaced in the war, now in its third year.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which play key roles in the coalition, have suffered the alliance's heaviest losses in Yemen, with dozens of soldiers killed.

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The cause of the crash is under investigation, the coalition added. Ten Saudis were also killed in that incident.

"We will work with our allies, with our partners to try to get it to the United Nations -brokered negotiating table", Mattis said.

Washington alleges that Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, has shipped missiles to Yemen but Tehran denies the charge. There are signs that Trump has given the USA military more latitude to use force, including ordering a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base and cheering the unprecedented use of a monster bomb against an Islamic State target in Afghanistan last week.Administration officials said the US strategy in Syria - to defeat Islamic State while still calling for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - is unchanged, a message Mattis is expected to reinforce.

During the trip, Mattis will meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, as well as the defense minister, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, and the interior minister, deputy crown prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi insists on the implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions which stipulate that the Houthis pull their militias from the cities and hand over heavy weapons, while the Shiite rebels demand on a power-sharing deal before taking any security-related steps.

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

The Saudi-led coalition has recently made gains against the Houthis in western Yemen but fighting on other fronts, including Marib, has been static, with little ground changing hands.