Saudi Arabia says Bahraini pilot survives F-16 jet crash

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Bahraini pilot flying for a Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite rebels in Yemen survived a jet crash on Wednesday along the kingdom's southern border, hours before the coalition said its forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired toward the same area.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency carried a statement from the kingdom's military saying the Bahraini pilot's F-16 crashed in Jizan province due to technical failure.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been bombing the rebels, known as Houthis, since late March. The campaign began after the rebels overran the capital and other major cities, forcing the internationally-backed government into temporary exile.

The United Nations says the civil war in the Arab world's poorest country has killed more than 5,800 people since then. Bahrain announced Tuesday that three of its soldiers were killed and others wounded along Saudi Arabia's southern border, without elaborating. Cross-border fire from the conflict has killed soldiers and civilians there in the past.

Also Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency carried a coalition statement saying the kingdom's Air Force had intercepted a missile fired toward Jizan. The coalition statement said the missile was fired from Yemen and that coalition forces responded by destroying the launch pad.

It was at least the third time in the past two weeks that Saudi forces intercepted missiles targeting the kingdom's territory. Soviet-era missiles known as Scuds have been fired by Houthi rebels and their supporters throughout the current offensive.

Scud strikes in Saudi Arabia have been fatal in the past. On Feb. 25, 1991, an Iraqi-fired Scud hit a U.S. base in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 28 American soldiers.

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