US drone 'shot down over Yemen'

Attack is second such incident in recent months

A US military MQ-9 drone has been shot down in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday, the second such incident in recent months.

A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defences had brought down a US drone.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone, which is purported to be worth over $15 million, was shot down late on Tuesday.

A Houthi spokesman said an MQ-9 drone was brought down by a missile near the city of Dhamar, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa.

US Central Command said it was aware of the reports but did not immediately confirm them.

This is not the first time a US drone has been shot down over the war-ravaged country. Two months ago, the US military said that Iran-backed rebels had shot down a government-operated drone with assistance from Tehran.

US forces have been engaged in a sustained campaign against Yemen's al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), including launching sporadic drone and airstrikes against targets in the country.

The Houthis, meanwhile, have used increasingly sophisticated weaponry since sweeping control of the country in 2015. Their use of launch long-range missiles against neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and their attacks on drones, has prompted accusations that they are being armed by Iran.

In Tuesday night's attack officials told Reuters that the Houthis had likely used a surface-to-air missile to down the aircraft.

The same official admitted to Reuters that losing a drone was expensive but it was not unprecedented and was unlikely to be followed by a signifiant response from Washington.

The other official warned that it was too early to tell who was responsible for the incident.

A separate official told CNN that the missile involved was provided by Iran. The official added that the Trump administration will publicly criticise Iran for the incident.

The Houthis, however, claimed that the rocket was "developed locally".

"The rocket which hit it was developed locally and will be revealed soon at a press conference," Yahya Saria, a Houthi military spokesman, said on Twitter Tuesday night.

"Our skies are no longer open to violations as they once were and the coming days will see great surprises," he added.

Yemen has been ravaged by a five-year war between the Houthis and forces loyal to the country's recognised government that is backed by a Riyadh-led Gulf military alliance.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in