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US chopper

Sanaa, Nov. 3 (Reuters): Gunmen fired at a helicopter owned by the US Hunt Oil company operating in Yemen today, but it landed safely with only one person slightly hurt, a Yemeni official said.

“One of the bullets hit the helicopter, but it returned safely to Sanaa airport,” the official said.

One person, believed to be a crew member, suffered a slight head injury when the helicopter landed, the official added.

The aircraft had been travelling to Yemen’s eastern Mareb oil-producing province, 170 km east of Sanaa. The US embassy and Hunt Oil in Sanaa were not available for comment.

The Yemeni official said it was not yet known who had fired at the helicopter, which had just started its journey and was two miles from Sanaa airport.

He said Yemeni authorities were questioning some tribal leaders in the area near the airport.

The rugged mountainous area between Sanaa and Mareb is a stronghold for armed tribesmen blamed by the government for many kidnappings of tourists and foreigners working in Yemen in recent years.

Abductions have become less frequent since Yemen set up special courts and introduced the death penalty for kidnap.

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