Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed the shooting down of a Royal Saudi Army Boeing AH-64A Apache helicopter near the border with a surface-air missile, killing two pilots.
“A Saudi Apache helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile… and its two pilots were killed as it was completely burned,” the group’s military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said in a Twitter post.
There was no immediate confirmation from a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the group for more than four years.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said in an official statement that the helicopter was downed with an anti-aircraft missile “equipped with a new tech” that will be revealed soon. The spokesman added that a video of the operation will be released.
“The Armed Forces affirms that approaching Yemeni airspace is prohibited … and that it will confront all the enemies’ violations until it reaches full protection of Yemeni airspace,” Brig. Gen. Sair said.
According to the Houthis, both the Apache’s pilot and gunner were killed in the incident, which took place south of the Saudi province of Asir.
Yemeni sources released a short video supposedly showing the downing of the Saudi attack helicopter. The video has not been verified, yet.
YEMEN Houthis/Ansar Allah claims shooting down a KSA helicopter AH-64 Apache" in Asir province with a new surface to air missile
Claim raise curiosity about what is the "New" type…but not a good new for helos hovering in the area
— Harry Boone (@towersight) November 29, 2019
Around 30 Apache attack helicopters are in service with the Saudi Arabian National Guard Forces (SANGF). More than 90 others are operated by the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF).
Saudi Apache helicopters participate in the offensive and defensive military operations along the border with Yemen on a regular basis.