News ID: 127435
Publish Date : 17 May 2024 - 21:33

Yemen Downs Another $30 Million MQ-9 Reaper

SANAA (Dispatches) -- Yemen’s armed forces on Friday claimed to have shot down an American drone, hours after footage circulated online of what appeared to be the wreckage of an MQ-9 Reaper drone. 
If confirmed, this would be yet another Reaper downed by the Yemeni forces as they press their campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people against the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said the Yemeni forces shot down the Reaper on Thursday with a surface-to-air missile. He described the drone as “carrying out hostile actions” in Yemen’s Ma’rib province.
“Yemeni air defenses were able to shoot down an American MQ-9 aircraft yesterday evening, Thursday, while it was carrying out hostile actions in the airspace of Ma’rib. It is the fourth aircraft that was shot down during the Battle of the Promised Conquest and the Holy Jihad in support of Gaza,” he said. 
Yemen’s Ansarullah movement later released footage of the surface-to-air-missile being launched at night, along with night-vision footage of the missile hitting the drone. A man, whose voice had been digitally altered to apparently prevent identification, chanted: “God is the greatest; death to America; death to Israel; curse the Jews; victory to Islam.”
Online video showed wreckage resembling the pieces of the Reaper on the ground, as well as footage of that wreckage on fire.
The Associated Press said the U.S. military did not respond to a request for comment over the claim. Yemen’s forces have a history of shooting down U.S. drones and have weapons capable of high-altitude attack.
Since 2014, the U.S. military has previously lost at least five drones to the Yemeni forces. 
Reapers, which cost around $30 million apiece, can fly at altitudes up to 50,000 feet and have an endurance of up to 24 hours before needing to land.
The drone shootdown comes as the Yemeni forces target Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, demanding the Zionist regime ends the war in Gaza, which has martyred more than 35,000 Palestinians there.  
“The Armed Forces confirm their full readiness at all levels, land, sea and air, and confirm that all attempts of the enemy will fail,” Saree said. 
The downing of the drone came a day after the Yemeni army announced targeting two ships in the Red Sea, one of them a U.S. warship. 
“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a military operation targeting the American destroyer ‘USS Mason’ in the Red Sea with a number of appropriate naval missiles,” Saree said on Wednesday. 
The armed forces also confirmed the successful targeting of another ship in the Red Sea, identified as the Destiny. Saree explained that the Destiny was targeted because it violated the blockade on ships headed to Israeli ports. 
The statement explained that the ship was headed to the southern port of Eilat on April 20 through “deception and concealment claiming that it was heading to another port.” 
The shooting down of the drone also came two days after U.S.–UK airstrikes targeted Yemen’s Hudaydah airport. 
In November, Yemen’s armed forces – militarily aligned with the Ansarallah resistance movement – began targeting Israeli-linked ships and vessels en route to Israeli ports in the Red Sea and Arab Seas in support of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. It vowed to continue doing so until the siege of Gaza is lifted and the war brought to an end. 

The U.S. and UK have been waging a violent aerial campaign against Yemen since mid-January in response to Yemeni naval operations. When the campaign began, the scope of Yemen’s operations was expanded to include U.S. and British vessels. 
Yemeni forces remain undeterred by the U.S. campaign. U.S. and European maritime task forces have also failed to deter Yemen.
Earlier this year, the Yemeni armed forces expanded the scope of their pro-Palestine operations to include the Indian Ocean, severely affecting the Israeli economy. 
The Yemeni army said on May 3 that it would expand its operations to include the Mediterranean Sea.
On Thursday, Ansarullah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi declared that Yemeni forces will target any ship bound for Israeli ports, regardless of whether they pass through the Red Sea.
“We will target any ship heading to Israel that comes within range of our weapons,” al-Houthi said in televised address.
So far this week, Ansarullah has carried out seven operations with 13 ballistic missiles in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, Houthi said.
“There is no red line for us. We are gradually hitting sensitive strategic targets that affect the enemy and we will reach them by God’s grace,” he said.
Houthi said the United States is “complicit with the Zionist regime in the genocide against the Palestinian people, the siege of the Gaza Strip, and the closure of the Rafah crossing.
He said it was the Americans who proposed to Zionist regime to attack the Rafah crossing and occupy it.
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza has been a vital route for aid to the coastal territory, where a humanitarian crisis has deepened and some people are at risk of famine. 
Earlier this month, Israeli forces occupied the crossing with Egypt in preparing for a ground invasion of Rafah where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have been taking refugee. 
The occupation came after Hamas announced it had accepted a ceasefire proposal following weeks of talks with Qatar and Egypt.