On Monday the Pentagon confirmed that an American MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot out of the sky in Western Yemen, where a civil war between the Iran backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi Arabia-backed government forces, has been going on for almost three years. A Reuter’s photographer said that the drone came down around 11 am local time. It crashed in a busy area on the outskirts of the capital. No casualties have been reported. The drone wreckage was reportedly carted away in a Toyota truck.
On Sunday the Houthi-controlled state news agency, SABA first reported that:
A military source said (Houthi) air defense shot down a U.S. MQ-9 surveillance drone in Jader area in the Sanaa province.
The American military newspaper Stars and Stripes was told by Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesman, that the Pentagon has launched an investigation into the incident. He did not provide any additional information, including who had shot down the aircraft or what mission the drone was supporting at the time.
People gather around the engine of a drone aircraft which the Houthi rebels said they have downed in Sanaa, Yemen October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
The MQ-9 Reaper drone is used for surveillance and reconnaissance operations but as a multi-mission drone it can be armed and is typically used by the Air Force to conduct airstrikes.
Crash footage on social media
A video has been published on YouTube by Yemen’s Al-Mashirah television network, that supposedly shows Houthi forces launching a missile that hits the drone. Later in the video, they show footage of the wreckage and crowds watching.
One video on social media shows the Reaper drone spiraling as it plummets into the ground in Sanaa.
Yemini Civil War
In September it has been three years since the Houthis took over Sanna. Since the Civil War breaking out in March 2015, around 10,000 people have died and nearly 3 million people have been displaced or forced out of their homes. The war has led to a humanitarian disaster, including a widespread outbreak of cholera. The International Rescue Committee reports that about two-thirds of Yemen’s almost 26 million people are at risk of starvation.
The conflict in Yemen between the Saudi-led (and U.S. backed) coalition and the Iran-supplied Houthis, has been described as a stalemate. The Houthis are armed by Iran and these weapons have been used against the American forces, including a Navy destroyer off Yemen’s coast last year.