Houthi fighters target US drones scouting Yemeni territory. Photo/X/MMY1444 (Yemeni Military Media)
SANAA – A United States (US) military drone was shot down while operating off the coast of Yemen, unnamed officials told several media outlets.
US officials linked the attack to Yemen’s ruling Houthi faction. Armed militia groups previously vowed to carry out drone and rocket attacks against Israel amid continuing fighting in Gaza.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed in international airspace on Wednesday (8/11/2023), according to officials, who noted that US Central Command is now investigating the incident.
Yemeni air defenses shoot down an American MQ9 plane while it was carrying out hostile missions as part of military support for the Israeli enemy entity 11-8-2023 AD pic.twitter.com/mTdqNuwwje
– Yemeni Military Media (@MMY1444) November 8, 2023
“We can confirm that a remotely piloted US MQ-9 military aircraft was shot down off the coast of Yemen by Houthi forces,” a Pentagon official told ABC News.
The group also shared footage purportedly showing the attack, with an air defense missile seen hitting a plane which then exploded into fiery debris.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Houthi spokesperson said, “The drone was attacked while carrying out hostile, monitoring and spying operations in Yemeni territorial waters along with US military support to the Israeli entity.”
The Houthis have ruled parts of Yemen since 2014. “Hostile acts will not prevent the Yemeni armed forces from continuing to carry out military operations against the Israeli entity as a form of solidarity with the oppression of the Palestinian people,” said the spokesman.
Late last month, Houthi officials confirmed they had launched several drones and missiles against Israel in support of Palestinians in Gaza, and later promised additional attacks.
The US military previously said it had shot down projectiles headed for Israel over the Red Sea, and a Navy destroyer reportedly intercepted cruise missiles and drones launched by Houthi forces in October.
US officials have also confirmed a series of “unarmed” surveillance drone flights over the Gaza Strip since the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
But US officials said the operation was intended to find hostages taken by Palestinian militant groups.