MARYLAND, US: Houthis shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper off the coast of Yemen over the Red Sea, a defense official confirmed to USNI News.
The defense official did not give additional details on the MQ-9 or potential recovery efforts. The Air Force has long used Reapers for surveillance and strike missions in the region.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is in the Red Sea, but it was not near the engagement, a defense official told USNI News on Wednesday evening. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is also in the Red Sea but in the northern part, according to USNI News Fleet Tracker.
The downing of an American drone comes as attacks against American forces in Syria and Iraq are on the rise. Between Oct. 17 and Tuesday, there have been 40 attacks with 22 in Iraq and 18 in Syria, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters during a press breifing Tuesday.
The DOD attributes the attacks to Iran-backed or Iranian proxy groups. The DOD said they are not connected to the Israel-Hamas war, although the strikes against U.S. forces started 10 days after Hamas invaded Israel and killed 1,400 Israelis while kidnapping 240 more. In retaliation, Israel has continuously bombed Gaza, killing more than 10,000 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Earlier in October, USS Carney (DDG-64) shot down a number of Houthi-launched missiles and drones that were headed in the direction of Israel. However, the DOD could not confirm the targets, USNI News previously reported.