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Tunisian fighter jet crashes into sea during exercise

The F-5 jet crashed during an exercise [File Photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 17 October, 2018

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A Tunisian F-5 jet disappeared from radar screens as it flew off the coast of Bizerte in northern Tunisia before crashing into the sea.

A Tunisian fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during an exercise on Wednesday but its pilot was unharmed, the defence ministry said.

The F-5 jet disappeared from radar screens as it flew off the coast of Bizerte in northern Tunisia during a training exercise involving 10 Mediterranean states.

The pilot, who had ejected, was unharmed and was rescued by a Tunisian helicopter, defence ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri told AFP.

Two Italian helicopters also took part in the search, the Italian defence ministry said.

The joint exercises are aimed at testing surveillance and air defence systems in the western Mediterranean as well as improving the coordination of air operations, it added. 

Tunisia's air force this month also held its first ever joint exercises with Saudi forces.

Training "to increase the combat readiness of pilots and exchange experiences in the fields of logistics and technical support" took place at a military base in Bizerte in northern Tunisia, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The five-day exercises are limited to "exchanges of experiences, training and logistics", it said.

Tunisia joined a military alliance launched by Saudi Arabia in late 2015 but has opted out of taking part in the Riyadh-led coalition waging war on Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where more than 10,000 people have been killed in a conflict that has been described by the UN as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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