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Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Suspected In US Drone Being Shot Down Over Yemen

U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Bob Brown/Released

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Matt M. Miller Contributor

A U.S. military drone was shot down over Yemen Tuesday, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

An air defense system brought down the drone, according to a Houthi military official, Reuters reported. The drone was shot down late Tuesday by what was suspected to be a surface-to-air missile, an official said.

“We are investigating reports of an attack by Iranian-backed Houthis forces on a U.S. unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operating in authorized airspace over Yemen,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “We have been clear that Iran’s provocative actions and support to militant and proxies, like the Iranian-backed Houthis, poses a serious threat to stability in the region and our partners.”

This incident marks the second time a U.S. military drone has been shot down over Yemen in recent months. Iran-backed Houthi rebels shot down a U.S. drone with help from Iran in June, the U.S. military said. (RELATED: Iran Stepping Back After Preparing To Attack US Forces)

The U.S. military has been involved with drone strikes in Yemen against the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organization. The AQAP has inserted itself into the four-year-long conflict between the Houthi rebels and Yemen’s government headed by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, according to Reuters.

Though losing a drone is an expensive casualty, it is not likely to warrant an aggressive military response by the U.S., an official told Reuters.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria addressed the incident overnight.

“The rocket which hit it was developed locally and will be revealed soon at a press conference,” he said on Twitter. “Our skies are no longer open to violations as they once were and the coming days will see great surprises.”

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