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Houthis claim responsibility for Saudi jet downed in Yemen

Thirty-one people were killed in air strikes on Yemen later on Saturday, the UN said, victims of apparent Saudi-led retaliation
Yemen's Houthi rebels claim they downed a Saudi jet (AFP/File photo)

A Saudi planed crashed during an operation in Yemen, the official Saudi Press Agency announced on Saturday, with Houthi rebels claiming responsibility and the Saudi's apparently responding.

Quoting Colonel Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the SPA said a Saudi Tornado fighter crashed before midnight on Friday while providing air support on a mission. 

The Houthis, who have fought a five-year conflict with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, claimed on Friday night that they had shot down a Saudi plane using an air-to-ground missile in the city of al-Jawf, according to the group's Al-Masirah TV.

Thirty-one people were killed in air strikes on Yemen later on Saturday, the United Nations said, the victims of an apparent Saudi-led retaliation, AFP reported.

"Preliminary field reports indicate that on 15 February as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in strikes that hit Al-Hayjah area... in Al-Jawf governorate," the office of the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement.

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Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been using warplanes to strike the Houthis, who they accuse of being a proxy for Iran.

Fighting has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, displaced millions and sparked what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The US navy announced on Thursday that it had seized weapons it says are of Iranian "design and manufacture", including more than 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three surface-to-air missiles on a traditional sailing vessel in the Gulf.

Iran did not immediately comment on the US military's accusation.

In December, a US warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it stopped in the northern Arabian Sea.

Under a United Nations resolution, Iran is prohibited from supplying, selling or transferring weapons outside of the country unless approved by the Security Council. 

A separate UN resolution on Yemen bans any country from supplying weapons to Houthi leaders.

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