Yemeni opposition demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-regime protest in Sanaa on Wednesday.

Story highlights

NEW: Eyewitnesses say the plane was attacking residential areas

TV report blames three members of the opposition for shooting down the plane

The incident comes as anti-government protests in Yemen continue

Sanaa, Yemen CNN  — 

A government warplane crashed north of the capital city of Yemen on Wednesday morning, state television reported.

The television report blamed three members of the opposition for shooting down the plane. The incident came as anti-government protests continue to attract huge crowds.

Opposition tribes shot down the aircraft as it was bombarding a residential compound in Arhab district, a number of eyewitnesses told CNN.

“The government is attacking and killing our loved ones because they have the weapons. We have to fight back and we will do so,” said Abdullah al-Shaleef, a resident of Arhab who has clashed with government forces.

The eyewitnesses said the government air raids Tuesday night on residential areas in Arhab and Nehm districts had killed two people and injured four.

The plane came down in Bani Hareth, 7km (4 miles) south of Arhab, on the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa, they said.

Earlier Tuesday, Yemen’s defense minister escaped an assassination attempt when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy.

The violence comes as anti-government protests in Yemen continue, with tens of thousands taking to the streets of Sanaa on Monday.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned Friday from three months in Saudi Arabia, where he received medical treatment following an assassination attempt in June.

The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have called on Yemen to halt the violence and called on both sides to establish a peaceful transfer of power.

Journalist Hakim Almasmari contributed to this report