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Meet the Saudi sergeant who downed a Russian jet 55 years ago

Published: Updated:

Fifty five years ago, Saudi Sergeant Mohammed Mohsen al-Wadai downed a Russian Ilyushin jet that flew above the skies of Najran during the Yemeni revolution.

The jet violated Saudi air space to fire missiles on Saudi territories. Wadai directed a cannon to the jet and fired, hitting it in the right side which caught fire and extended to the back of the plane. The jet crashed in Saudi territories turning Wadai and his friend Ali heroes in the eyes of people in Najran.

Wadai told Al-Arabiya.net that the incident happened on a Sunday in 1963, adding that when he fired the cannon towards the jet, all he thought of was dying while protecting his land.

He added that Prince Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Sudairy, the governor of Najran at the time, honored him for his heroic act.

Wadai, who is now in his 90s, enrolled in the military when he was 18 years old. He moved around considering his work with the army and he was among the Saudi troops which participated in protecting Jordan from Israeli violations.