Jetfighter crashes in Yemen, killing pilot

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 09:58

Sanaa: A Yemeni jetfighter crashed immediately after takeoff during a training mission Monday, killing its pilot, Yemen`s Defence Ministry said.

The ministry`s online newspaper said the Russian-made MiG-21 aircraft crashed inside al-Annad air base in the southern province of Lahj due to technical failure.

It said the jet`s pilot, Col Atiq al-Akhali, was killed and a trainee was injured.

Al-Annad is the biggest air base in the country. It hosts a group of US military advisers helping Yemeni troops fighting the local branch of al Qaeda, considered by the US to be the terror network`s most dangerous offshoot.

Yemen`s air force has carried out strikes during the military`s offensive against al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, a Yemeni court sentenced six al Qaeda militants to up to five years in prison over planning attacks and targeting security forces, foreign interests and state institutions. Heavy security forces were deployed to the court building in Sanaa.

A total number of 12 defendants were tried on charges of "forming armed groups to carry out criminal acts" and "planning attacks on military and government buildings and private and public property, including foreigners and the US Embassy and other diplomatic missions in Yemen," between 2009 and 2011.

Six were acquitted while six others received sentences varying between one to five years in prison.

The trial comes at a time Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has ordered trials for tens of al Qaeda suspects, who are among hundreds of suspected extremist militants that have been held without charges for over a year.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 09:58

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