SANA’A/RIYADH – Yemeni army forces shot down a fighter jet belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition in retaliation for the alliance’s military aggression against their conflict-stricken country.
Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing an unnamed source in the Yemeni missile defense units, reported that the country’s air defense units managed to target and shoot down a Panavia Tornado fighter jet in the skies of Yemen’s northern province of Jawf late on Friday night.
It also quoted Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree as saying that the multi-role combat aircraft had been shot down with an advanced surface-to-air missile. Back in January 2018, the Yemeni missile units managed to shoot down a Tornado fighter jet and an F-15 warplane.
Furthermore, the Yemeni forces have so far shot down numerous Saudi-led combat or surveillance drones as well as a number of helicopters. The Yemeni army has devised and manufactured its own ballistic missiles and combat drones, which has changed power balance against the failing Saudi-led coalition.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, with the help of a number of its allies, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched a brutal military campaign against impoverished Yemen, whose former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had fled to Riyadh a few months earlier after stepping down the previous year.
The Saudi-led campaign, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, was launched to achieve two main objectives: bringing Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, back to power, and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, whose fighters have proved to be of significant help to the Yemeni army in defending the Arab country against the invaders since the onset of the imposed war.
However, despite spending millions of dollars and employing foreign mercenaries, particularly from Sudan, the Saudi regime has been bogged down in Yemen and has practically failed in achieving both of its objectives. The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition has put Yemen under a tight naval blockade as it also imposed a crippling blockade on the capital’s international airport, one of the lifelines of the county for the past three years or so. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme hunger.