An Iranian cargo plane planning to land at a Yemeni airport was barred by Saudi jet fighters from entering Yemen’s airspace on Thursday. Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency said the plane was carrying “humanitarian aids.” The Saudis could have suspected that the civilian cargo plane was carrying arms for the Huthis. Iran has in the past regularly used civilian cargo plane to carry arms to Iraq and Syria.
Iran began air operation between Tehran and Sanaa in early March of this year after the Huthis had taken over the capital. Mahan Air was the first airline landing at Sanaa international airport and maintained daily flights until the Saudi-led coalition began its air campaign nearly a month ago. This was the first attempt by an Iranian carrier to enter Yemen after the Saudi announced that they had halted the air campaign and instead would use air assets only against specific military targets.
Fars did not disclose which airliner and what type of equipment were involved in today’s disrupted attempt. The plane returned to Tehran safely.
File photo: Mahan Air Cargo Boeing 747-3B3M, with registration EP-MNE (cn 23480/641), identified in a 2012 U.S. report as overflying Iraq on resupply mission to Syria (UskowiOnIran, 25 March 2013 – Photo:Farzad Farajpour/Airlines.net)