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    Houthi rebels demonstrate their power by shooting down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone in Yemen during heightened regional tensions

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    In the embattled skies of Yemen, Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down an MQ-9 Reaper drone, a symbol of U.S. military might, further complicating the already volatile Middle East situation.

    Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed that rebels shot down the Reaper on Thursday with a surface-to-air missile.

    He described the drone as “carrying out hostile actions” in Yemen’s Marib province, which remains held by allies of Yemen’s exiled, internationally recognized government.

    The downing of the Reaper drone, priced at approximately $30 million and capable of cruising at 50,000 feet for up to 24 hours, marks yet another sophisticated piece of U.S. technology felled by the Iran-backed insurgents.

    This is not an isolated incident; since 2014, when the Houthis seized control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, at least five other U.S. drones have been lost to rebel fire.

    The U.S. military did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press over the Houthi claim.

    The rebels have made claims about attacks that turned out later not to be true, they have a history of shooting down U.S. drones and have been armed by their main benefactor, Iran, with weapons capable of high-altitude attack.

    This reticence is not unusual given the complex nature of the conflict in Yemen and the broader regional implications, particularly the ripple effects of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, which has seen a staggering human toll, with more than 34,000 Palestinian casualties.

    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.

    Their demands are unequivocal: they seek an end to the war in Gaza.

    The U.S. Maritime Administration corroborates these aggressive moves, which have noticeably decreased following a U.S.-led airstrike campaign targeting the rebels in Yemen.

    Despite this, the threats posed by the Houthis continue to loom over the crucial maritime routes, evidenced by the subdued shipping activity through these regions.

    The Houthis later released footage they claimed showed the surface-to-air-missile being launched at night, along with night-vision footage of the missile hitting the drone.

    The Houthis later released footage they claimed showed the surface-to-air-missile being launched at night, along with night-vision footage of the missile hitting the drone.

    A man, whose voice had been digitally altered to apparently prevent identification, chanted the Houthi slogan: “God is the greatest; death to America; death to Israel; curse the Jews; victory to Islam.”

    Relevant articles:
    Houthi Blow To USA: Yemeni Rebels Destroy American MQ-9 Reaper Drone In New Attack , The Times of India, 05/17/2024
    Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim shooting down another US MQ-9 Predator drone, ABC News, 05/17/2024
    Israel-Gaza war: Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim to shoot down another US MQ-9 Predator drone as footage shows wreckage, South China Morning Post, 05/17/2024
    Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim shooting down another US MQ-9 Reaper drone as footage shows wreckage, Yahoo News Australia, 05/17/2024

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