By Asma Al-Mohattwari
A Sukhoi 22 fighter jet crashed into a residential area in Sana’a’s near by Sana’a University, leaving 12 dead, including three women and two children, Interior Ministry spokesperson Mohammed Al-Maori said.
The crash damaged a number of homes and vehicles. Witnesses report that the jet crashed into three homes in the Qadisiyah neighborhood, near Change Square. Troops from the First Armored Division, along with other military and police officials blocked-off the area.
Police warned residents and witnesses to stay away from the area, citing further possible explosions from missiles stored in the jet or nearby gas canisters. Military forces used water cannons and batons on people gathered at the site, including journalists.
Interior Ministry official Abdualrahman Al-harazi said first responders had difficulty accessing the heavily populated residential area and transporting the dead and injured to a hospital.
Al-Maori told National Yemen that the cause of the crash is unknown and that investigations are underway.
“We will form an investigation committee to uncover the causes of the accident,” Al-Maori said.
An Antonov M26 crashed in Sana’a’s Haseba neighborhood on 21 November, leaving 10 dead. Asked if it was time to move military bases away from Yemen’s heavily populated capital, Al-Maori said supported the ban of military aircraft in Sana’a’s skies.
“Military aircraft should be prohibited from flying over Sana’a,” Al-Maori said.
Government officials say bodies remain in the rubble.
Maram Alabassi contributed to this report.