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Pentagon investigating crash of spy drone near Houthi-controlled Yemen

Houthis have launched at least 46 attacks against international shipping and naval vessels since Nov. 19. This is the second time they have claimed to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone.

Published: February 25, 2024 11:01pm

The Pentagon is looking into what caused one of its surveillance drones to crash near the coast of Yemen after the Iran-backed Houthis claimed a successful downing of an American drone, The New York Times reported, citing officials.

An MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone fell out of the sky, the officials confirmed to the NYT, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters. The Houthi terrorists at the same time claimed to have A close-up of a signDescription automatically generatedshot down a drone near the port of Al Hudaydah in the second such instance since Israel’s war against Hamas began in October and the U.S. pledged its support.

“Yemeni air defenses were able to shoot down an American plane (MQ-9) with a suitable missile while it was carrying out hostile missions against our country on behalf of the Zionist entity,” a Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said in a statement. “Yemeni armed forces will not hesitate to take more military measures and carry out more qualitative operations against all hostile targets in defense of beloved Yemen and in confirmation of the position of support for the Palestinian people.” 

The Houthis carried out their operations “[t]riumphing the oppressed Palestinian people” and in “retaliation to the American-British aggression against our country,” the statement added. The Iran-supported group controlling most of Yemen pledged to continue its aggression until Israel ceases its attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this month, the Houthis severely damaged the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged ship traveling through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, in missile attacks, the Associated Press reported. Military authorities rendered assistance, reporting that the attacks had compelled the crew to abandon ship, according to the United Kingdom’s Maritime Trade Operations. Later, the Houthis claimed attacks on two unspecified American ships.

The Sea Champion, a Greek-flagged, U.S.-owned bulk carrier ferrying grain from Argentina with a destination of Aden, Yemen, came under attack twice, according to the AP, which cited UKMTO and private security firm Ambrey.

The Houthis shot down another MQ-9 spy drone that was flying through international airspace near Yemen in November.

The U.S. destroyed a Houthi unmanned underwater vessel (UUV), a sub-surface drone, for the first time, the military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement. CENTCOM forces conducted five self-defense strikes against three anti-ship cruise missiles, a surface drone and the UUV in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“This is the first observed Houthi employment of a UUV since attacks began in Oct. 23,” the statement read.  “CENTCOM identified the anti-ship cruise missiles, unmanned underwater vessel, and the unmanned surface vessel in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.”

The Houthis have launched at least 46 attacks against international shipping and naval vessels since Nov. 19. The Houthis began attacking international vessels and later U.S. and partner Navy vessels, linking their operations to Israel’s war against Hamas and aiming to impede U.S. support for Israel.

Although the U.S. has conducted dozens of dynamic strikes on Houthi missiles or drones prepared to launch and conducted multiple large-scale strikes on Houthi locations, attacks have not ceased.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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