Pentagon officials privately confirmed the downing of MQ-9 Reaper
A US military drone was shot down while operating over the coast of Yemen, unnamed officials told multiple media outlets, pinning the strike on the ruling Houthi faction. The armed militia group previously vowed drone and rocket attacks against Israel amid continued fighting in Gaza.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone was downed in international airspace on Wednesday, officials said, noting that US Central Command is now investigating the incident.
“We can confirm that a US military MQ-9 remotely-piloted aircraft was shot down off the coast of Yemen by Houthi forces,” a Pentagon official told ABC News.
The group also shared footage alleged to show the strike, with an air defense missile seen hitting an aircraft and erupting into flames.
الدفاعات الجوية اليمنية تسقط طائرة MQ9 الأمريكية أثناء قيامها بمهام عدائية ضمن الدعم العسكري لكيان العدو الإسرائيلي 8-11-2023م pic.twitter.com/mTdqNuwwje
— الإعلام الحربي اليمني (@MMY1444) November 8, 2023
Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Houthis – who have governed portions of Yemen since 2014 – said the drone was hit “while carrying out hostile, monitoring, and spying operations in the Yemeni territorial waters along with the US military support to the Israeli entity.”
“Hostile acts won’t deter the Yemeni armed forces from continuing to conduct military operations against [the] Israeli entity in a solidarity to the oppression of Palestinian nation,” the spokesperson added.
Late last month, Houthi officials confirmed they had launched several drones and missiles against Israel as a show of support for Palestinians in Gaza, and went on to pledge additional attacks.
The US military previously said it had shot down projectiles headed towards Israel over the Red Sea, with a Navy destroyer reportedly intercepting 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 Hamas’ deadly October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, but maintained the operations were meant to locate hostages taken by the Palestinian militant group.