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Yemen's Houthi rebels 'shoot down' Saudi jet

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition fighting rebels in Yemen [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2018

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A Saudi-coalition jet has crashed in Yemen's rebel-held Saada province on Sunday, with Houthis claiming to have downed the jet.

A Saudi coalition jet was reportedly shot down by Houthi fighters over Yemen's northern Saada province on Sunday, with two crew lost in the war-torn country.

A UK-made Tornado jet, which is used by Saudi Arabia's air force was downed by the Houthi rebels, according to an official statement published on Saba news agency.

The Saudi-led coalition confirmed the jet had been shot down and said rescue teams had been out to evacuate the aircrew.

The reports were also confirmed by Saudi media, although little information was provided and it is not clear if the pilot and navigator survived the crash.

The mountainous northern province -  which borders neighbouring Saudi Arabia - is a stronghold of the Houthis and has been frequently targeted by the coalition since it began its military intervention against the rebels in 2015.

Fighting and air raids have intensified since 19 December, when Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis towards the capital Riyadh. 

The rebels as well as their allies in Yemen's splintered armed forces routinely fire anti-aircraft guns at warplanes.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the coalition's intervention in the impoverished country, where more than 2,000 people have also died of cholera this year.

The UN human rights office said it had tallied 136 civilians killed and another 87 wounded in strikes on Sanaa, Saada, Hodeida, Marib and Taiz governorates between December 6 and 16. 

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