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Thailand Launches F-16 Fighters to Intercept Myanmar MiG-29

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On Thursday morning a Myanmar MiG-29 fighter jet crossed into Thailand’s air space in Northern Thailand’s Tak Province, panicking local residents and forcing two local schools to close for safety reasons.

On Thursday, fighting intensified between Myanmar government troops and Karen soldiers in the Myawaddy border town, opposite Ban Wao Lay Tai village in Phop Phra district of Tak province. According to a border source, a MiG-29 fighter jet of the Myanmar air force intruded into Thai airspace around noon.

The intrusion of the jet fighter into Thai airspace and loud explosions in Myanmar caused panic among villagers in Tak, prompting them to take shelter in bunkers.

In response to the intruding fighter jet flying low over Ban Wao Lay Tai School, classes were cancelled. Students at Ban Wao Lay Nua School were evacuated into bunkers within the school compound. The school also suspended classes as parents took shelter in the bunkers.

A source told the Bangkok Post, that many Myanmar villagers fled into Thai territory in the Phop Phra district following intensified junta attacks.

Sayant Wongjai, a local resident, reported that shrapnel from a bomb dropped from the fighter jet damaged his pickup truck parked at an oil palm plantation. His pickup truck was parked just half a mile from the Thailand-Myanmar border.

MiG-29 bombing Myanmar village

According to Mr. Sayant, he saw the MiG-29 fighter jet flying across the Phop Phra district in Thailand’s airspace. He said loud bangs were clearly heard along the border when air strikes were launched.

A resident of Ban Wao Lay village, Juthanan Boonpornwong, 61, said she had never witnessed the use of aircraft to drop bombs before in over 30 years of living there.

The Myanmar army fighter jet flew over the border village, which is about a kilometre from the border. There was panic among the locals as a result of the jet’s roar, she said.

After a fighter jet was spotted crossing into Thai airspace, the Royal Thai Air Force sent two F-16 fighter jets to patrol along the border in Phop Phra district

RTAF spokesman AVM Prapas Sonjaidee confirmed that one unidentified aircraft crossed into RTAF airspace over Phop Phra district at 11.16 a.m. on Thursday.

Air strikes were launched against ethnic rebels along the border and the jet intruded into Thai airspace before disappearing from radar.

In response to the intrusion, the RTAF dispatched two F-16 fighter jets to patrol the border district and ordered a military attache in Rangoon to coordinate with the Burmese authorities.

Sources later reported that Thailand’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke to the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force currently Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya about Myanmar’s air space intrusion.

He also ordered the Royal Thai Air Force to lodge a protest through the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the air force attache in Rangoon.

Air Chief Marshall Napadej later phoned his Burmese counterpart over the incident. The Myanmar air force chief apologized and said there would be no recurrence of such an incident, said the source.

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