Yemen’s Houthi militia on Wednesday claimed to have shot down a US drone off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula country, saying it had been deployed in support of Israel.
“Our air defenses were able to down an American MQ-9 while it was carrying out hostile surveillance and espionage activities in Yemeni territorial waters as part of American military support for Israel,” the group, allied to Iran, said in a statement.
US officials confirmed that an American MQ-9 drone was shot down while in international airspace off the coast of Yemen but did not attribute the attack to any side.
The Houthis are part of the “axis of resistance” of groups backed by Iran and opposed to Israel.
They have claimed responsibility for multiple drone and missile attacks against Israel during its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
That conflict was triggered by Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel in which it killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, Israeli officials say.
Israel has responded with a relentless bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza, aimed at destroying Hamas, which the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory says has killed more than 10,500 people, also mostly civilians.
“Hostile activities will not deter the armed forces of Yemen from pursuing their military operations against the Israeli entity and its oppression of the Palestinian people,” the Houthi statement said.
The Houthis, opposed to government forces in Yemen, took control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014.