Morocco Hopeful Its Air Force Pilot Is Alive

Rabat – Morocco said it was hopeful to find 26-year-old Air Force pilot Yassine Bahti alive after his F-16 crashed while on a mission for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.The Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the “downing” of the Moroccan warplane last weekend in the Saada region in the north of the country.Rebel news channel Al-Massirah has shown debris of what appears to be a plane with a Moroccan flag on its flags and other gruesome images of a body in the wreckage. However, the Royal Armed Forces denied the rebels’ claims saying there was no evidence to support “the theory of the pilot’s death.”“Analysis of the photos and images relayed by websites and social networks showed that it might be a montage,” the FAR said in a statement quoted by the MAP news agency.“The search continues by various means, and in the absence of tangible proof, the hope of finding the pilot alive remains our major concern,” the FAR added.The Moroccan Air Force has reportedly sent Special Forces units to Yemen in search of the missing F-16 pilot. Army General Bouchaib Arroub has also been ordered to personally supervise the mission in Yemen.The pilot’s family, who live in Casablanca, hoped he was alive.“I hope my son is alive and will return to his native land as soon as possible,” his father Nordine Bahti, told AFP.“As a father, I have great hope that he will return to [us]. Our morale is high and in the end, we accept God’s predestination,” the father was quoted by Al Arabiya as saying.

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