A picture taken on November 16, 2015 shows Saudi F-15 fighter jets preparing to take off for operations over Yemen at the Khamis Mushayt military airbase, some 880 km from the capital Riyadh. AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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At a sprawling air base in southern Saudi Arabia, another warplane roars off into the harsh sun carrying a payload of laser- and GPS-guided bombs to drop over Yemen.Roughly 100 kilometers from the Yemeni border, the King Khalid Air Base near the city of Khamis Mushait is at the forefront of the Arab intervention against Houthis in Yemen.Pilots, like Captain Khalid of the Royal Saudi Air Force, collect helmets, green vests and pistols from a locker room before walking through a wooden door to the tarmac, where warplanes from coalition countries stand by for missions.Khalid has spent nearly a decade in the Saudi air force.The coalition has sent ground troops to Yemen to support President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi's forces, but the main focus has been on airstrikes. Khalid says he has felt no danger during his missions and, so far, coalition air forces have only reported a single loss.
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