U.S. Air Force officer passes in front of an MQ-9 Reaper drone, one of a squadron that has arrived to step up the fight against the Taliban, at the Kandahar airbase, Afghanistan (Reuters)
Washington, Aug. 21, 2019 (Reuters/NAN) A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen’s Dhamar governorate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defences had brought down a U.S. drone.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday.
This is not the first time a U.S. drone has been shot down in Yemen.
In June, the U.S. military said that Houthi rebels shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran.
U.S. forces have occasionally launched drone and airstrikes against Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
One of the officials said that it appeared that the drone had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile operated by the Iran-aligned Houthi group.
The other official cautioned that it was too early to tell who was responsible for the incident.
The drone shoot down comes as tensions between Iran and the U.S. have risen since President Donald Trump’s administration last year quit an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and began to ratchet up sanctions.