Conflict & Justice

Yemen: tribesmen shoot down military plane

In Yemen, rebel tribesmen shot down a military plane just north of the capital, Sanaa, on Wednesday, according to official reports.

The Soviet-era military aircraft crashed in a mountainous area about 30 miles north of Sanaa while “carrying out a routine task this morning,” The New York Times reports, citing a statement issued by Yemen's Ministry of Defense.

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The BBC reports that the tribesmen brought down the jet fighter by using anti-aircraft guns. It reportedly crashed in the village of Beit Azar and the pilot, who had ejected from the plane, was captured by tribesmen, according to Agence France-Presse.

Government forces and tribesman who oppose President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and are said to be allied to dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, have been fighting in the area since March, the Times says. The government is said to have been bombing the region for months.

Saleh made a surprise return to Yemen on Friday after spending three months in Saudi Arabia recovering from a bomb attack at his presidential palace.

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