Royal Saudi Air Force F-15s intercepted an Iranian A310 carrying aid to Yemen.
A new video, recorded with a mobile phone and released by the Iranian Press TV, shows RSAF F-15s intercepting an Iranian Mahan Air Airbus 310 on its way to deliver humanitarian aid in Yemen.
According to the Iranians, the airliner had the required diplomatic clearances to fly to Yemen via Oman’s airspace but it was intercepted and escorted by at least a couple of armed Saudi F-15s.
Photos posted by Tasnim News show that the F-15s involved in the intercept were armed with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles (most probably four) and carried three drop tanks to extend their endurance.
Based on the reports, the RSAF F-15Cs radioed the Airbus 310 that it could not land at Sana’a International Airport and later urged the Iranian aircrew to land at another airport “belonging to Saudi Arabia.”
However the Iranian pilots ignored the warning from Saudi jets escorting the civil plane from close distance and continued to Sana’a but they were forced to turn back as the airport was hit by a Saudi air strike which made the runway unserviceable.
According to Reuters, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, the airport was bombed after the Iranian aircraft refused to coordinate with the coalition and the pilot ignored orders to turn back.
The incident comes days after another Iranian airplane reportedly carrying aid and medicine was prevented to enter the Yemeni airspace by RSAF jets in combat air patrol.
On Mar. 25, Saudi Arabia launched the first air strike on targets located in neighbouring Yemen to counter the Houthi offensive on Aden, the provisional capital town of the internationally recognized (yet domestically contested) Yemeni government.