Houthi Rebels Claim Shootdown of U.S. Military Drone in Yemen

Houthi rebels in Yemen claim to have shot down a U.S. military drone, marking the fifth such incident since 2017. This highlights the ongoing conflict and instability in the region.

Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Houthi Rebels Claim Shootdown of U.S. Military Drone in Yemen

Houthi Rebels Claim Shootdown of U.S. Military Drone in Yemen

On April 27, 2024, Yemen's Houthi fighters asserted they had shot down a U.S. military MQ-9 Reaper drone using a surface-to-air missile in Yemen's Saada province. The Houthis released footage allegedly showing the missile launch, the downed drone, and serial numbers matching parts made by the drone's manufacturer, General Atomics.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryon J. McGarry acknowledged that a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone crashed in Yemen and said an inquiry was underway. This marks the fifth time the U.S. has lost a drone to the Houthis since 2017.

The drone shootdown comes as the Houthis have launched a series of attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza. While Houthi attacks had declined in recent weeks due to a U.S.-led airstrike campaign, the rebels have renewed their assaults in the last week.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the ongoing conflict between the Houthi rebels and U.S. forces in the region, as well as the Houthis' ability to target U.S. military assets. It also underscores the broader tensions and instability in Yemen and the surrounding waters.

The U.S. military has been conducting operations in Yemen against the Houthis, who have been challenging the internationally recognized Yemeni government. The Houthis' attacks on commercial shipping aim to pressure Israel to end its conflict with Hamas in Gaza, showcasing the complex web of regional rivalries and proxy battles in the Middle East.

As of April 28, the U.S. Central Command has not provided further details on the drone crash, stating only that the incident is under investigation. The Houthi fighters maintain their responsibility for the shootdown, which they characterize as a legitimate act of self-defense against foreign military intervention in Yemen's civil war.

Key Takeaways

  • Houthis claim to have shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone in Yemen on April 27, 2024.
  • U.S. Air Force confirms drone crash, investigation underway; 5th drone lost to Houthis since 2017.
  • Houthis demand Israel end Gaza war, attack shipping in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
  • Incident highlights ongoing conflict between Houthis and U.S. forces, regional instability in Yemen.
  • Houthis characterize drone shootdown as legitimate self-defense against foreign military intervention.