Putting to rest any remaining doubt of America’s continued deep military involvement in the Yemen war, a US military drone was shot down outside the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Tuesday night.
After local footage of fiery wreckage falling from the night sky over Yemen appeared online, US officials confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that it was authentic, and further it was the second such US drone shoot down in months.
— ba ezzo (@abojibreel) August 20, 2019
It is believed that Shia Houthi rebels, still in control of Sanaa, intercepted the drone through a surface-to-air missile. The prior incident occurred in June, which the Pentagon has blamed also on Iran for providing outside assistance to Houthis on the ground.
A Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Saria, touted the drone downing as part of an increasingly sophisticated response to foreign aircraft in the country’s skies: “The rocket which hit it was developed locally and will be revealed soon at a press conference,” Saria said in a statement. The group’s official Al-Masirah TV identified the aircraft as a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper Drone.
“Our skies are no longer open to violations as they once were and the coming days will see great surprises,” he added.
Vivid footage#Yemen-i air defense shooting down a #US spying drone type #MQ9 over my city of Dhamaar
I think It’s the 5th #USA made drone to be shot down over my country but it’s the first on my city
This show you that US is fully involved in the war on my country pic.twitter.com/GLI7sH6RHy
— Hussain Albukhaiti (@HussainBukhaiti) August 21, 2019
Houthi media also released footage purporting to show the surface-to-air missile that took out the multi-million dollar Pentagon drone.
This also comes as Houthi ballistic missile reach into Saudi Arabia has become more deadly and extensive of late, with airports in the country’s southwest being struck multiple times over the past months.
Both Saudi and US officials have pointed the finger at Iran for supplying Shia forces in Yemen with these longer range weapons, as part of a broader proxy war for the Middle East.