U.S. MQ-9 Drone shot down off the coast of Yemen

U.S. MQ-9 Drone shot down off the coast of Yemen

Air Force Works To Meet Increased Demand For Remotely Piloted Aircraft
FILE: An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies by during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada.

Isaac Brekken / Getty Images

A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down off the coast of Yemen on Wednesday, a defense official confirmed to CBS News. The official said the drone was operating in international airspace over international waters. 

U.S. Central Command is assessing the incident, the official said. 

A spokesperson for the Houthis in Yemen claimed on X that air defenses brought down the drone. 

MQ-9s are used primarily for collecting intelligence but can also conduct strikes against targets. 

This is the latest incident in what threatens to turn the war between Israel and Hamas into a larger conflict. Last week, the Iranian-backed Houthis announced they launched missile and drone attacks against Israel. 

Those attacks follow an incident last month in which a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea shot down missiles from Yemen that were potentially headed toward Israel. 

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014, launching a years-long devastating civil war against the internationally recognized government of Yemen. 

The Houthis have shot down MQ-9s before, most recently in 2019. Each MQ-9 costs about $30 million, according to a Congressional Research Service report released last year. 

The Pentagon acknowledged last week it was flying MQ-9s over Gaza in order to gather intelligence to help with hostage recovery efforts. 

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