A Saudi warplane pounding the Houthi positions in Yemen has crashed during the operations. While Riyadh said the fighter jet had gone down due to a "technical glitch," Houthis claimed they shot it down in the war zone.
The fighter jet was cruising in northern Yemen as part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition's long-running operations against the Houthi rebels. Two pilots from the aircraft ejected before it hit the ground.
"The Arab Coalition Forces Command implemented a private joint operation to evacuate two pilots in the participation of air and land forces where the two pilots were evacuated into the kingdom's territories," said Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the anti-Houthi coalition forces, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Riyadh has confirmed the downed jet belonged to the Saudi Royal Air Force.
However, Houthi-aligned forces report that the aircraft was a Britain-made Tornado and it was brought down by "the Yemeni air defence" using a ground-to-air missile in Saada province. "The air defence of the army and popular forces (Houthi fighters) shot down a Saudi-led coalition combat aircraft today," read a report on the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency. Saudi Arabia is known to be the only country in the region to use the Panavia Tornado aircraft.
Even in the past, Saudi Arabia has lost several warplanes and helicopters during its military campaign but has not acknowledged it was due to Houthi attacks.
Saudi Arabia has been engaged in the Yemen conflict, one of the worst man-made disasters in recent decades, targeting Houthi rebels for nearly three years.
Riyadh, which is also witnessing a massive shake-up inside the regime, blames Iran, a strong backer of Houthi rebels and a regional rival of Riyadh, for supplying Houthis with arms.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia, two regional powerhouses with clashing ideologies, share a fractious relationship due to a power struggle over a series of religio-political issues such as the way Islam is interpreted, the Islamic world's leadership and oil exports.
The effectiveness of Saudi Arabia's military intervention is severely questioned as a large swathe of territories are still under the control of Houthi rebels. The three-year-long conflict has claimed more than 10,000 lives so far in the offensive.