SANAA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi rebels said on Saturday that the group's fighters have shot down an Apache helicopter belonging to the Saudi-led coalition forces.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, leader of the pro-Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said on Twitter that his forces shot down the helicopter during overnight fighting against the coalition-backed government forces in the Yemeni western coast, south of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.
There were no comments yet made by the coalition forces over the claim.
The Friday clashes allegedly killed at least 78 people from both warring sides.
The clashes, which took place in al-Fazah area of Tahita district, some 80 km south of Hodeidah, also wounded dozens and destroyed over 50 military vehicles. Tahita is located near Hais district, where the battles are raging on.
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels since March 2015. More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the war that displaced over 3 million and pushed the impoverished country into the brink of famine.
The coalition has sent hundreds of troops to the Yemeni western coast in preparation for the advancement into Houthi-held Hodeidah, a long-time key target declared by the coalition.
Hodeidah is a vital lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Houthi-controlled northern provinces, including capital Sanaa.