Local News

Houthi Rebels Say They Shot Down Moroccan Plane

Moroccan army officials confirmed Tuesday that a Moroccan warplane had crashed two days earlier while flying over Yemeni territory due to a technical error, the father of the plane’s missing pilot has said.

On Monday, a Saudi-led coalition against Yemen’s Houthi group, in which Morocco is a participant, admitted that a Moroccan warplane had been downed, holding the Houthi group responsible for the safety of its pilot.

“Our family is very hopeful that our son, Yassin, will be found alive, despite the fact that his fate remains unknown,” Noureddine Bohti, the father of the missing pilot, said

Bohti urged the Moroccan authorities to shoulder their responsibilities and find his son, who, he said, had been “serving the homeland” when his plane went missing.

He went on to note that his son was the youngest Moroccan pilot fighting in Yemen, adding that he had earlier participated in the fight against Daesh.

Daif al-Shami, a member of the Houthis’ political bureau, told Anadolu Agency on Monday that his group had downed a Moroccan warplane in the northern Saada province, but didn’t provide any information regarding the missing pilot.

On the same day, a pro-Houthi TV channel broadcast footage allegedly depicting “the wreckage of a Moroccan fighter jet downed by Houthi militants in Saada’s northern al-Safra district.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Moroccan army said it was difficult to confirm the veracity of news and photos of the missing fighter jet and its pilot because the wreckage of the plane was located in “hostile territory.”

Houthi militants also confirmed that, they had shot down a Moroccan F-16 fighter jet carrying out airstrikes against their northern stronghold, as fighting escalated in the hours leading up to a five-day cease-fire.

This is the second reported loss of a jet in the Saudi alliance since airstrikes began in late March. In March, the Houthis said they shot down a Saudi military aircraft, but the Riyadh government later said mechanical failure caused the crash.