Yemeni air defense forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, have reportedly intercepted and shot down an F-15 fighter jet belonging to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
An unnamed Yemeni military source told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that the aircraft was targeted with a surface-to-air missile as it was flying in the skies over the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada on Wednesday.
The jet had purportedly taken part in airstrikes against residential neighborhoods in the province.
Earlier in the day, Saudi fighter jets targeted a vehicle as it was travelling along a road in the Nihm district of Yemen’s west-central province of Sana’a.
Separately, a civilian sustained injuries when a cluster bomb went off in the Maran area of Ḥaydan district in Sa’ada Province.
Cluster munitions, which are banned by more than 100 countries, present an enormous danger to civilians.
Dropped from the air or fired from the ground, they are designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the sub-munitions over a wide area in a way that cannot discriminate between civilians and military targets.
Many of the sub-munitions fail to explode on impact and effectively become anti-personnel mines. Unexploded sub-munitions have the potential to remain lethal for years, posing a high risk to the civilian population, both during and after the conflict.
Cluster bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.
About 14,000 people have been killed since the onset of Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen in March 2015. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.
The United Nations says a record 22.2 million people are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
A high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living conditions in Yemen, stating that there is a growing risk of famine and cholera there.
“After three years of conflict, conditions in Yemen are catastrophic,” John Ging, UN director of aid operations, told the UN Security Council on February 27.
He added, “People’s lives have continued unraveling. Conflict has escalated since November driving an estimated 100,000 people from their homes.”
Ging further noted that cholera has infected 1.1 million people in Yemen since last April, and a new outbreak of diphtheria has occurred in the war-ravaged Arab country since 1982.