Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Claim to Have Shot Down Saudi Warplane

AP Photo
AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

CNN reports that Houthi insurgents in Yemen claim to have shot down a Saudi fighter jet near the capital city of Sanaa.  The Saudis have refused to comment on the report, while the Yemeni government has flatly denied it.

The Houthis supported their claim by distributing photos of burning wreckage, some of which was stamped with the words “Royal Saudi Air Force.”

However, the Yemeni government pointed out that the “wreckage” displayed in these photos consisted of a missile and an auxiliary fuel tank, both of which might have been jettisoned by a pilot without the entire plane coming down.

It was further noted that the initial Houthi claim said the downed aircraft was an American-made F-16, but the Saudis have no F-16s in their inventory. The claim was later amended to specify an F-15, a plane that is flown by the Saudi air force.

CNN notes the Houthis have made several previous claims of shooting down aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition currently carrying out air strikes in Yemen.

The air campaign against the Houthis continues apace. “On Saturday, according to the defense ministry officials, Saudi-led strikes hit several Houthi-held positions in the capital, including a military depot,” CNN reports. “In the suburb of Sanhan, the hometown of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key Houthi ally, strikes targeted residences and military depots, the officials said.”

Other strikes were conducted against “a military base in the Sanaa suburb of Khulan; a police training center in Dhamar, 100 kilometers south of the capital; several locations in Hajjah Governorate in the country’s northwest corner; and a training facility in al-Hudaydah on Yemen’s west coast.”