Two U.A.E. Pilots Die in Warplane Crash in Yemen Houthi War

  • The Mirage jet crashed due to technical failure, SPA says
  • General command of coalition forces didn't identify pilots

Two pilots from the United Arab Emirates died after their fighter plane crashed in Yemen while taking part in the Saudi-led war against Shiite Houthi rebels.

The Mirage jet went down due to technical failure, the Saudi Press Agency said Monday, citing a statement by the general command of the coalition forces the U.A.E. joined in March 2015. Earlier Monday the U.A.E. press agency WAM said a warplane went missing, without providing details.

The Yemen war is often cast as a proxy conflict between Sunni-ruled monarchies led by Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, which is aligned with the Houthi rebels. The two sides are on opposite ends of Middle East conflicts from Syria to Lebanon and Iraq. The loss of the jet on Monday is the first for the U.A.E. air force, which operates U.S.-made F-16 and French-built Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

The U.A.E. has also sent ground troops to support the government of Yemen President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi. In September, more than 40 U.A.E. soldiers were killed in a missile attack in the oil-rich Marib province.

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