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    HomeMilitaryAmid Escalating Tensions, Houthi Rebels Shoot Down Sixth MQ-9 Reaper Drone in...

    Amid Escalating Tensions, Houthi Rebels Shoot Down Sixth MQ-9 Reaper Drone in Yemen

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    In a significant assertion of their military capabilities, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced the successful downing of an MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen’s central Marib province, this event marks the sixth such incident in the past six months.

    According to a statement broadcast by the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea confirmed that “a locally made surface-to-air missile is used in the operation.”

    Sarea emphasized the group’s intention to continue enhancing their military defense capabilities “to counter the U.S.-British coalition aggression against our country.”

    Further asserting their regional stance, Sarea stated that the group will maintain its support for the Palestinian people “against the Israeli aggression until the conflict and blockade stop.”

    The Houthi television has declared that it will broadcast a video depicting the operation that led to the shooting down of the drone.

    It has previously released footage showing the debris of the downed drones, evidencing their claims of military engagement.

    In contrast to the Houthi claims, U.S. media outlets have cited an anonymous U.S. defense official asserting that “the U.S. Air Force has not lost any aircraft operating within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.” However, no further details have been provided to substantiate this statement.

    The Associated Press, after analyzing images published online, described the downed MQ-9 Reaper drone as largely intact and lying on its belly in the desert of Yemen’s Marib province, with its tail assembly disconnected and a hatch opened.

    Despite the detailed images, neither the authorities in Marib, which is controlled by allies of Yemen’s exiled government, nor the Houthis immediately acknowledged the drone.

    The province of Marib, situated near the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter Desert, has been a strategic location in the ongoing conflict and a known site for previous U.S. drone downings.

    The U.S. military, which has lost at least five drones to the rebels since the start of Yemen’s civil war in 2014, has not confirmed the suspected shootdowns of Reapers earlier this month.

    The MQ-9 Reaper, a significant asset in the U.S. military’s arsenal, comes with a hefty price tag of around $30 million each and boasts impressive capabilities, including high-altitude flight and endurance for extended missions.

    The Houthi offensive has not only targeted aerial assets but has also heightened risks to maritime security in the region.

    The U.S. Maritime Administration has recorded more than 50 Houthi attacks on shipping since November, with at least one vessel seized and another sunk.

    This has notably led to a decline in shipping through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden due to the increased threat.

    Relevant articles:
    Yemen’s Houthis shoot down MQ-9 Reaper drone , Lokmat Times, 05/30/2024
    Another MQ-9 Reaper drone goes down in Yemen, Military Times, 05/29/2024

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