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Houthis claim fighter jet in Yemen shot down

It is the first reported downing of a plane in the Yemen conflict.

By Ed Adamczyk
Houthis claim fighter jet in Yemen shot down
A Moroccan F-16 fighter plane. A Moroccan fighter plane involved in airstrikes against Houthi rebel targets was shot down, a Houthi-controlled television station claimed Monday. Photo Courtesy of Royal Moroccan Air Force.

SAADA, Yemen, May 11 (UPI) -- A Moroccan fighter plane involved in airstrikes against Houthi rebel targets was shot down, a Houthi-controlled television station claimed Monday.

Al-Masirah TV reported the F-16 plane was struck as it passed over Saada province in northwestern Yemen.

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The news station also reported that the entire province is regarded as a military target by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis with airstrikes. It broadcast photos of what it claimed was the wreckage of the plane. The Moroccan Royal Air Force said in a statement one of its planes was missing Sunday, with no information on the cause. It added it was unaware if the pilot safely ejected.

If it is true, the downing of the plane would be the first since the 10-nation coalition of Arab countries in the region began airstrikes on March 26.

Airstrikes against Houthi targets across Yemen have accelerated in advance of a five-day truce for humanitarian purposes, scheduled to begin Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been displaced by the fighting, and shortages of food, water, electricity and medical supplies have been reported.

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