A U.S. drone that was reportedly flying over Yemen's airspace has been shot down by Houthi rebels, according to a senior U.S. military official who spoke to The Associated Press.
The group, recognized by the United States as being backed by Iran, said its military arm shot down the aircraft using the group's air defenses. The Houthis said the craft was an MQ-9 Reaper drone.
The senior U.S. official told the AP that the military is still analyzing the incident. A different official told the news agency that the drone was over international waters when it was shot down. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The Houthis have control of Yemen's capital and a significant portion of the northern and western areas of the country, which are areas where the highest population centers in the country are located.
The Houthis are a Zaydi Shiite movement that has been battling the Sunni-majority government in Yemen since 2004, according to the Wilson Center.
The movement surfaced in northern Yemen in the 1990s, reacting to ever-increasing religious and financial influence from neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas rebels on Israeli soil, the Houthis have fired at least four lots of missiles and directed batches of drones in the direction of southern Israel.
In late October, a U.S. Navy warship situated in the northern Red Sea shot down three cruise missiles along with a batch of drones that were launched from Yemen and appeared to be aimed at Israel, the Pentagon said.
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