A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News.
The drone was shot down late on Tuesday in Yemen’s Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, officials told Reuters, which first reported the news.
One U.S. official told Reuters that the drone had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile operated by the Iranian-backed Houthi group. Another official, however, cautioned it was too early to say who was responsible.
This is not the first time Houthi rebels have shot down a U.S. drone in Yemen.
In June, officials told Fox News that a U.S.-operated MQ-9 drone was shot down by the Iranian-backed rebels.
The news comes amid a growing confrontation between Iran and the West after President Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago. Trump subsequently re-imposed escalating sanctions on Iran, largely halting the sale of Iran’s crude oil internationally and sharply depreciating Iran’s currency.
It also comes after a diplomatic spat between the two countries over an Iranian supertanker carrying $130 million worth of light crude oil that the United States suspects was transporting the oil to fuel “the Iranian regime’s and Syrian regime’s campaign of terror and oppression.”
U.S. officials sought to seize the Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace I, after the vessel left Gibraltar late Sunday after being detained for a month for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria.
Gibraltar authorities rejected attempts by the U.S. to seize the tanker, arguing that EU regulations are less strict than U.S. sanctions on Iran. The British overseas territory said it had been assured by Iran that the tanker wouldn’t unload its cargo in Syria. The supertanker is reportedly headed to Greece.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm