Saturday, August 26, 2017

U.S. Black Hawk Helicopter Crashes Off Coast of Yemen: One U.S. service member missing, five others rescued

The Wall Street Journal
By Asa Fitch
Updated Aug. 26, 2017 3:24 a.m. ET

DUBAI—A search effort is under way for a missing U.S. service member after an American Black Hawk helicopter crashed off Yemen’s southern coast during a training exercise, the military says.

Five other Americans were rescued by U.S. forces after the Friday evening crash, which took place about 20 miles offshore, according to U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. operations in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. It said an investigation would be initiated, but offered no other details.

The U.S. has been involved for more than two years in supporting its ally Saudi Arabia as it leads a military coalition conducting a war in Yemen.

The Saudi coalition, composed mainly of Sunni Muslim states, is trying to unseat Shiite Houthi rebels who took over Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2014. The kingdom sees the rebels as proxies of Iran, the region’s main Shiite power and a rival for influence across the Middle East.

Since intervening in March 2015, the coalition and its allied forces have recaptured significant parts of southern and eastern Yemen—including much of the southern coastline. San’a remains in Houthi control.

In parallel to the U.S.’s provision of midair refueling to coalition planes conducting airstrikes and its training and advice for coalition forces, American special forces have on rare occasions conducted raids against al Qaeda cells in Yemen.

An American Navy SEAL was killed in one such raid in late January, the first significant antiterror operation authorized under President Donald Trump. Three other SEALs were wounded, numerous Yemeni civilians were killed and an American V-22 Osprey was destroyed in the operation, a toll that led to criticism from some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.).

A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter also crashed during training this month off the coast of Hawaii. The Army later suspended its search for the five crew members missing in that crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

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