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Six UAE soldiers killed in 'operations field' accident: State media

Incident comes as Abu Dhabi pulls its troops out of war-torn Yemen
Soldiers with UAE- and Saudi-backed coalition in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah on 22 January (AFP/File photo)

Six Emirati soldiers were killed in a "vehicle collision" on Friday, the United Arab Emirates' official news agency, WAM, reported.

The servicemen died "while performing their national duty in operations field", WAM said, without specifying the location of the accident.

The incident comes as the UAE pulls its troops out of Yemen, where Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are leading a military coalition against the country's Houthi rebels.

Since the UAE announced in July its plans to withdraw from Yemen, southern separatist forces backed by Abu Dhabi have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is supported by Saudi Arabia.

The secessionists aim to restore the former South Yemen, an independent socialist republic that dissolved itself and unified with the north in 1990 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Since the outbreak of violence in the south, the UAE has backed separatist forces with air strikes. But Saudi Arabia has repeatedly condemned the secessionists' attacks on government forces, affirming its commitment to Hadi.

Both Gulf countries are leading the coalition against the Houthis, who toppled Hadi and took over the capital Sanaa in 2015. 

Since the start of their intervention, the war in Yemen has killed thousands of people, brought the country to the verge of famine and cause the spread of preventable diseases in what the United Nations has called the biggest humanitarian crisis on the planet.