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Yemen's Houthi rebels claim to have shot down another US MQ-9 Predator drone

Yemen's Houthi rebels claim to have shot down another US MQ-9 Predator drone


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed Friday they had shot down a U.S. drone, hours after images of what appeared to be the wreckage of an MQ-9 Reaper drone surfaced online. The US military did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

If confirmed, it would be another Reaper killed by the Houthis as they continue their campaign against the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Houthi military spokesman Brig.-Gen. Gen. Yahya Saree said rebels shot down the Reaper on Thursday with a surface-to-air missile. He described the drone as carrying out “hostile actions” in Yemen's Marib province, which remains held by allies of the internationally recognized Yemeni government in exile.

The Houthis later released footage they said showed the nighttime launch of the surface-to-air missile, as well as night vision footage of the missile hitting the drone. One man, whose voice had been digitally altered to apparently prevent identification, chanted the Houthi slogan: “God is greatest; death to America; death to Israel; curse the Jews; victory of Islam.

An online video showed wreckage resembling pieces of the Reaper on the ground, as well as footage of the burning wreckage.

The US military said it was aware of the information, without providing further details.

Although the rebels have made allegations of attacks that later turned out to be false, they have a history of shooting down U.S. drones and have been armed by their main benefactor, Iran, with weapons capable of attack at high altitude.

Since the Houthis seized the north of the country and its capital, Sanaa, in 2014, the US military has already lost at least five drones to the rebels.

The Reapers, which cost about $30 million each, can fly at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and have an endurance of up to 24 hours before needing to land.

The downing of the drone comes as the Houthis launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians there. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on ships, seized one ship and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Houthi attacks have declined in recent weeks as the rebels have been targeted by a US-led campaign of airstrikes in Yemen. However, shipping via the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden remains low due to the threat.


This story has been corrected to name the drone Reaper, instead of Predator.




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