Two service members of the British Special Air Service (SAS) were injured in a roadside bomb blast while they were conducting a top-secret humanitarian mission in Yemen, the Express reported on February 17.
According to the British newspaper, the service members were a part of a 12-man strong unit, which flew into the southern Yemeni city of Aden from Djibouti aboard a UAE Chinook helicopter three weeks ago. The unit is working under U.S. command alongside members of Operational Detachment Alpha, the primary fighting force for the American Green Berets.
“The issue is that this country is on the edge of famine. This unit’s task was to identify areas for a drop, and secure people on the ground we can deal with should the green light be given for food and medical aid drops,” the Express quoted a military source saying.
The SAS unit was operating near the town of Marib, 500 miles north of Aden, when one of its pickups was hit with a landmine. Two soldiers sustained leg injuries and were evacuated by a UAE helicopter to the U.S. military base in Djibouti.
“This is a region filled with land mines and improvised explosive devices, and the intelligence we are gathering is vital not only for any future air drops but also to transport aid should Hudaydah reopen,” the military source said.
British sources believe that the landmine was planted by the Houthis, who control large areas west and south of Marib. However, the Yemeni group didn’t claim responsibility for the unusual attack.
The nature of the SAS mission in Yemen is highly questionable. It remains unclear why such an elite military unit would be engaged in a humanitarian mission and why would such mission be classified as “top-secret.”