Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

Houthi rebels on Wednesday claimed to have downed a US MQ-9 Reaper drone with a surface-to-air missile in Yemen’s central Marib province.

“The air defence force of the Yemeni Armed Forces, with the help of God, have succeeded on the dawn of this day, Wednesday, in downing a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone while it was carrying out hostile missions in the airspace of Marib Governorate,” Houthi military spokesperson, Brigadier Yahya Saree said in a televised address.

Images analyzed by The Associated Press showed the MQ-9 on its belly in the barren desert, its tail assembly disconnected from the rest of its body.

At least one hatch on the drone appeared to have been opened after it landed there, though the drone remained broadly intact without any clear blast damage.

Noticeably, the drone did not appear to carry any markings on it.

Marib province
The region is controlled by allies of Yemen’s exiled government and remains crucial for the outcome of the country’s yearslong civil war.

Since the war began in 2014, when the rebels seized most of the country’s north and its capital of Sanaa, the US military has lost at least five drones to the rebels.

In May alone, there have been two other suspected downings that have not, however, been confirmed by the Americans.

Reapers cost around $30 million apiece. They can fly at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (about 15,000 meters) and have an endurance of up to 24 hours before needing to land.

Red Sea attacks
In recent months, the Houthis have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end its war in Gaza.

The war there has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat.

On Wednesday, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree acknowledged the rebels attacked the bulk carrier Laax on Tuesday. Saree also claimed a number of other attacks on vessels that have not reported assaults without offering any evidence to support his claim. Saree in the past has exaggerated Houthi attacks.

Early Thursday, US Central Command said over the last day, it destroyed two missile launchers in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, as well as destroyed two drones over the Red Sea.

The Houthis separately launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles that splashed into the Red Sea, causing no injuries or damage, Central Command said.

By Joy

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