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Yemeni warplane crashes in capital Sanaa, 12 dead

Military personnel and fire fighters try to extinguish a fire at the site of an aircraft crash in Sanaa February 19, 2013. A Yemeni fighter
Military personnel and fire fighters try to extinguish a fire at the site of an aircraft crash in Sanaa February 19, 2013. A Yemeni fighter

SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni air force plane crashed in the capital Sanaa on Tuesday, killing at least 12 people, security sources said.

State news agency Saba said three women and two children were among those killed when the plane, on a training flight, came down in a western residential district. Eleven people were wounded, security sources said.

Pictures of the crash on social media sites showed one body near burning wreckage of the aircraft. Several cars were on fire and debris littered the street.

A security official said the pilot had ejected from the plane. There was no immediate word on whether he had survived.

"It's terrible and painful," resident Abdullah al-Ashwal said. "The police and medics evacuated five completely burned bodies, they were all unrecognizable."

Abdulsattar Mohammed said he saw a plane burning near houses that were also set on fire. "People were terrified and ambulances arrived late," he said.

A military official said the plane was a Russian SU-22 fighter/ground attack aircraft.

Yemen has 30 SU-22s and four SU-22UM3s in an air force with 79 capable aircraft in all, according to the 2012 Military Balance handbook issued by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

In November 2012, a Yemeni military transport plane crashed near Sanaa airport and burst into flames, killing all 10 people aboard.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush and William Maclean; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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