Moroccan F-16 Goes MIA Ahead of Yemen Ceasefire

So far Yemen has remained relatively tight-lipped about the missing fighter jet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 11, 2015 7:35 AM CDT
Moroccan F-16 Goes MIA Ahead of Yemen Ceasefire
This photo released by WAM, the state news agency of the United Arab Emirates, shows an Emirati pilot in his F-16 at an air base in Jordan, Feb. 10, 2015.   (AP Photo/WAM)

A Moroccan F-16 fighter jet taking part in a Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen has gone missing, the North African nation's military said today, a day ahead of the start of a proposed five-day humanitarian ceasefire. It wasn't immediately clear what happened to the jet, which the Moroccan military said vanished around 11am EDT yesterday. The Shiite Houthis, as well as their allies in Yemen's splintered armed forces, have routinely fired anti-aircraft guns at warplanes launching strikes in the country since the Saudi-led campaign began March 26; the Houthis' official news channel said today anti-aircraft guns had shot down an F-16, but that isn't confirmed, per Reuters. There's been no mention of the aircraft in Yemeni media or on the official website of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces back the Houthis.

Morocco's state news agency, citing a military statement, says the pilot of a second jet said he didn't see the pilot of the missing fighter eject. The military says it has launched an investigation into the plane's disappearance. Morocco has six F-16 jets in the United Arab Emirates taking part in the Saudi-led coalition. The ceasefire, scheduled to begin tomorrow, would ease the suffering of civilians who increasingly lack food, fuel, and medicine since the bombing campaign began. However, all sides in the conflict have warned they will resume hostilities if the ceasefire is broken. The situation in Yemen is to be discussed at a Camp David summit this week with allied Arab leaders, but the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have said they wouldn't attend. (More Yemen stories.)

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