Yemen's Houthi say downing US Reaper drone

AP , Sunday 28 Apr 2024

Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday said shooting down another of the U.S. military's MQ-9 Reaper drones, airing footage of parts that corresponded to known pieces of the unmanned aircraft.

In this photo provided by Houthi media office Saturday, April, 27, 2024, a Houthi fighter celebrates in front of what they said debris of an American MQ9 aerial vehicle, shot down by the air defense forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces in Saada, Yemen. AP


The Houthis said they shot down the Reaper with a surface-to-air missile, part of a renewed series of attacks this week by the rebels after a relative lull in their pressure campaign over the Israeli war on Gaza .

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryon J. McGarry, a Defense Department spokesperson, acknowledged to The Associated Press on Saturday that “a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone crashed in Yemen.” He said an investigation was underway, without elaborating.

The Houthis described the downing as happening Thursday over their stronghold in the country's Saada province.

Footage released by the Houthis included what they described as the missile launch targeting the drone.

The footage included several close-ups on parts of the drone that included the logo of General Atomics, which manufactures the drone, and serial numbers corresponding with known parts made by the company.

The drone shootdown comes as the Houthis launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding Israel ends the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians there. 

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

Houthi attacks have dropped in recent weeks. American officials have speculated that the rebels may be running out of weapons as a result of the U.S.-led campaign against them and after firing drones and missiles steadily in the last months. However, the rebels have renewed their attacks in the last week.

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