Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed Wednesday to have shot down a U.S. drone in Yemen earlier this week in what would be the third downing of an American aircraft at the hands of Tehran and its Middle East allies in less than three months.
Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for the Houthis in Yemen, said the group took down the MQ-9 drone near the city of Dhamar on Tuesday. He claimed that the weapons used to target the drone were built inside Yemen and would soon be shown publicly.
“The rocket which hit it was developed locally and will be revealed soon at a press conference,” he said.
U.S. officials confirmed that the drone had been shot down, Reuters reported Wednesday, though the Pentagon said little publicly. Military officials said they’re still gathering information.
“We are investigating reports of an attack by Iranian-backed Houthis forces on a U.S. unmanned aerial system (UAS) operating in authorized airspace over Yemen,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “We have been clear that Iran’s provocative actions and support to militants and proxies, like the Iranian-backed Houthis, poses a serious threat to stability in the region and our partners.”
If confirmed, the attack would be the third downing of American drone this summer.
In early June, another American drone was shot down by Houthi forces in Yemen. Later that same month, Iran downed a U.S. Global Hawk aircraft that Tehran claimed had entered Iranian airspace — an assertion the Pentagon denied.
President Trump said that he nearly launched retaliatory airstrikes against Iran following the incident but ultimately decided against the move, citing the high number of civilians that would’ve been killed.
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