Sanaa, Aug 6 (IANS) Eight people were killed in Yemen's Marib province Tuesday when a group of gunmen shot down a military helicopter, police said.
The helicopter, participating with ground forces in protecting a team of engineers, was on its way to a damaged oil pipeline in Al-Arqain area in Marib when it was attacked Tuesday afternoon, Xinhua quoting the police as saying.
"The chopper was flying low when it was attacked by heavy gunfire that caused it to crash into the ground," an official of the interior ministry said.
"The commander of 107th Brigade, Hussein Mashbaa, as well as two pilots and five crew members were killed in the crash," he added.
Police said those gunmen were also behind the bombing of the oil pipeline last week.
The Yemeni government last week announced that its main oil export pipeline was blown up in Marib, only a week after it had been repaired following previous attacks.
The pipeline carries about 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Marib province to an export terminal on the Red Sea.
Yemen's oil and gas pipelines, as well as the country's main electricity grid, have been frequently attacked since the eruption of protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.
Oil revenues make up more than 70 percent of Yemen's state budget, while oil and gas products account for over 90 percent of Yemen's exports.