U.S. MQ-9 Reaper Drone Crashes in Yemen

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An MQ-9 Reaper Drone from the U.S. Crashes in Yemen
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone has reportedly crashed in Yemen, with images online suggesting it happened on Wednesday. The drone went down in Yemen’s central Marib province, an area held by Yemen’s exiled government allies.

The U.S. military’s Central Command confirmed it had seen reports of the incident but didn’t provide further details.

Images analyzed by The Associated Press show the drone lying intact on the desert floor, its tail assembly detached, and a hatch open, though there’s no visible blast damage. The drone lacked any markings, and neither Marib authorities nor the Houthis, who have previously downed similar drones, acknowledged the incident.

A U.S. defense official, speaking anonymously, stated that the U.S. Air Force has not lost any aircraft in the region, but did not elaborate further. Other U.S. paramilitary forces have been known to operate drones in Yemen.

Marib is a strategic location, 75 miles east of the capital Sanaa, and sits near the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter Desert.

U.S. MQ-9 Reaper Military Drone

The U.S. has lost at least five drones to the Houthis since the civil war began in 2014, with two other suspected downings this month alone. Each MQ-9 Reaper, costing about $30 million, can fly up to 50,000 feet and remain airborne for 24 hours.

The Houthis have intensified attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding an end to Israel’s war in Gaza, which has resulted in over 36,000 Palestinian deaths.

The war started after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages.

The U.S. Maritime Administration reports that the Houthis have conducted over 50 attacks on shipping since November, seizing one vessel and sinking another. Shipping traffic has decreased due to these threats. On Wednesday, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen.

Yahya Saree confirmed an attack on the bulk carrier Laax and claimed other unreported assaults, though he provided no evidence. Saree has been known to exaggerate such claims.