A Saudi F-16 warplane has crashed in the west-central Yemeni province of Sana’a, killing one of its pilots, Yemeni media reports say.
According to Yemen’s khabaragency.net website, the incident took place in the province’s Nihm district on Thursday night, with one unnamed source saying it had been brought down by Houthi fighters.
“The Yemeni army’s air defense force and Popular Committees targeted a Saudi F-16 warplane on Thursday night and managed to down it in the Nihm district east of the capital Sana’a,” the source was reported as saying.
According to the report, the aircraft didn’t make it to the King Khalid Airbase near Khamis Mushayt, killing one of its pilots as it disintegrated while the other pilot survived the crash.
Heavy clashes are currently underway in the area between the Yemeni army and allied fighters on the one side and militants fighting under Saudi military leadership on the other.
Yemeni sources said that the confrontation had claimed the lives of 23 people from Yemen and 47 of the mercenaries over the past 48 hours.
Yemen has seen almost daily military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March 2015, with internal sources putting the toll from the bloody aggression at about 10,000.
The Saudi military aggression was launched to restore power to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has resigned as Yemen’s president but seeks to return to power.
Separately, the website reported that Saudi soldiers had killed at least 50 Somalis, striking Yemen’s western coastline in Bab-al-Mandeb.
Saudi Arabia has strengthened its military presence in the area and has brought massive amounts of military hardware from the southwestern Yemeni port city of Aden to the Kahboub district west of the Bab-al-Mandeb strait to exert control over the area.
Control over Kahboub and parallel mountain ranges would prevent the Yemeni army and Popular Forces from cutting off the supply routes used by the Saudi forces.
At least 100 people were either killed or injured from either side during fighting in the area on Thursday, media reports said.
On the diplomatic front, peace talks are to resume between Yemeni representatives and Saudi-backed former Yemeni authorities in Kuwait on Saturday.
On Thursday, a Houthi delegation left the Omani capital Muscat for Kuwait after a meeting with the UN envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed.
The UN-backed talks began in Kuwait on April 21.
Yemen’s Ansarullah movement earlier said any solution to the conflict in the country must guarantee the end of the Saudi aggression and its siege of Yemen.