Yemen’s Houthi militia have reported shooting down a Saudi-led coalition F-15 fighter jet. In a tweet cited by Reuters, a militia spokesman wrote:
“Our air defence systems have intercepted an F-15 fighter jet belonging to the countries of aggression in Saada province.”
The Houthis did not clarify which coalition country the plane belonged to. The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Sudan, as well as private military contractors and US and UK logistical and other support. Saudi Arabia and Israel are the only operators of the F-15 in the Middle East.
— Islamic World Update (@islamicworldupd) January 14, 2018
The Saudi-led coalition has yet to comment on the Houthi claims.
Earlier Wednesday, South Korea’s foreign ministry confirmed that all three of its ships and their crew members had been released by the Houthis, who had earlier seized the vessels as they transitted the Red Sea amid speculation that one of the ship was a Saudi-flagged tugboat. The militia claimed they seized the vessels for violating Yemen’s territorial waters.
Wednesday’s alleged incident wasn’t the first time the Houthis have reported attacking an F-15. Last year, the group claimed that they shot down a Royal Saudi Air Force F-15.
The group later released footage of a plane being struck by a surface-to-air missile while launching flares. In March 2018, the Saudi air force confirmed that a SAM had been launched at one of its fighters, but said the fighter managed to return to base and land safely.