Saudi fighter jet crashes in northern Yemen

A Saudi fighter jet crashed in conflict-torn Yemen, the Riyadh-led military coalition said Saturday.

The Tornado aircraft came down on Friday in northern Al Jawf province during an operation to support Yemeni government forces, the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The coalition did not specify the fate of the crew or the cause of the crash.
The coalition intervened against the Iran-backed rebels in 2015, first with air and naval forces and later with ground forces as well.

On Wednesday, the coalition said it will put on trial military personnel suspected of being behind deadly air strikes on Yemeni civilians.

Separately on Saturday, Al Masirah TV quoted Houthi health officials as saying that at least 30 civilians were killed in coalition air raids in the same region that the plane had gone down.

Youssef al-Hadiri, a spokesperson for Houthis’ health ministry, accused the Saudi-UAE-led coalition of hampering rescue operations on the scene of the purported strikes in the al-Jawf district of al-Masloub.

“It [the coalition] continues to carry out air raids there,” al-Hadiri told dpa news agency, without providing more details.

The Saudi-UAE-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s conflict in 2015 in support of forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had been forced out by the Houthis.

A drastic surge in fighting between the warring sides since last month has exacerbated the country’s long-running war and further complicate a fragile peace process.

For months, back-channel negotiations in Oman between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis stirred modest hopes for reconciliation. But sharply escalating violence has put the political process on shaky ground.

Both sides have concentrated their forces in three main areas: Nehm, a half-hour drive from Sanaa; al-Jawf, a mountainous northern district; and Marib, a western province that saw one of the deadliest incidents in January when a missile attack on a government military camp killed more than 100 people.

Since the beginning of the conflict, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions driven to the brink of famine in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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