— -- A U.S. helicopter rescued two Saudi pilots from the Gulf of Aden after their F-15 fighter crashed during an air mission over Yemen on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on Wednesday began an air strike operation in Yemen targeting Houthi fighters who have seized much of the country and forced the country's president to flee.
A defense official said the two pilots were rescued from the waters of the Gulf of Aden two hours after their fighter had crashed into the sea.
The official would not say if it was mechanical difficulties that downed the aircraft in international waters.
The destroyer USS Sterett coordinated the rescue with forces in Djibouti and the amphibious ship USS New York.
A U.S. Air Force Pave Hawk helicopter based in Djibouti was dispatched to rescue the two Saudi pilots. The rescue operation took two hours.
The United States is not participating militarily in the Saudi-led airstrike campaign but is providing logistical and intelligence support, including search and recovery support if needed.