Military plane crashes in Yemen's capital

Posted: 05/13/13 at 5:35 am EDT      Last Updated: 05/13/13 at 8:30 am EDT

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- A Yemeni military plane on a training exercise exploded in mid-air over the country's capital on Monday, killing the pilot and slamming into a residential neighborhood, according to an army official.

Fragments of the plane hit buildings on the ground in Sanaa and caused small fires to four houses. Three people sustained minor injuries, according to the official.

The plane was a Russian-made fighter Sukhoi Su-22 and military experts were investigating the cause of the incident, the Yemeni official said. He spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with military rules that prohibit personnel from speaking to the media without authorization.

Several ambulances were seen rushing to the site and security forces have cordoned off the area in southern Sanaa.

In February, a military plane flying on a training mission crashed in Sanaa, killing 10 people and destroying two houses.

Yemen's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, on his first visit to Moscow on April, told reporters that he discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin his country's need for spare parts to the Russian-made tanks, planes and helicopters used by the military.

At the time, Hadi said the lifespan of some of these weapons has expired.

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