US Reaper Drone Shot Down by Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Near Yemen

An unmanned US military drone, the MQ-9 Reaper, was shot down off the coast of Yemen by Houthi forces. The incident occurred on November 8, 2023. The MQ-9 Reaper drone was operating in international airspace and over international waters when it was shot down. The US Central Command is currently investigating the incident. The Iran-backed Houthi militants took responsibility for the shootdown.


This incident comes several weeks after a US Navy warship, the USS Carney, intercepted multiple missiles and drones fired by the Houthis as they were heading north along the Red Sea. The ship shot down four cruise missiles and 15 drones throughout nine hours. Iranian proxy groups have increased their attacks on US forces and assets in the Middle East in recent weeks. US and coalition bases in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 40 times since October 17. These attacks have resulted in multiple US servicemembers suffering from traumatic brain injuries and other minor injuries.


A senior defense official has called Iran "the center of gravity" for the attacks on US forces in the region, stating that "Iranian fingerprints are all over this". In response to these attacks, the US launched airstrikes in Syria on October 26, targeting infrastructure used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies.


The MQ-9 Reaper drone, valued at $30 million, was reportedly conducting surveillance over Yemen when it was shot down. The Houthi militia, backed by Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack. This incident underscores the escalating tensions in the region and the increasing risks faced by US military assets. It also highlights the complex dynamics of the ongoing conflict in Yemen and the broader Middle East.

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