Pentagon confirms US drone downed near Yemen by Houthis

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that a military MQ-9 Reaper drone was downed Monday by the Houthis near Yemen.

The drone went down off the coast of Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen in the Red Sea, deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters.

"Initial indications are that it was shot down by a Houthi surface-to-air missile," she said, adding that the drone has not been recovered.

The Yemeni group downed the same model drone in November off the coast of Yemen, according to CNN. The unmanned drone is used for intelligence collection.

The Houthis have been targeting cargo ships in the Red Sea owned or operated by Israeli companies or transporting goods to and from Israel in solidarity with Gaza, which has been under an Israeli onslaught since Oct. 7.

With tensions escalating due to joint counterstrikes by the US and UK against Houthi targets in Yemen, the group declared that it considered all American and British ships legitimate military targets.

Asked if the US has been able to degrade the Houthis ability to get more munitions, especially from shipments headed toward Yemen, Singh said the US military had two successful interdictions in January and earlier this month by the US Coast Guard.

"So, we have been able to disrupt some delivery of capabilities to the Houthis. We've also continued to conduct coalition strikes and dynamic strikes in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen," she said.

The US has accused Iran of supporting the Houthis.

"So, we know Iran finds ways to get weapons and get capabilities to the Houthis," she said.

Singh also said as of Feb. 20, the US has taken 32 self-defense strikes against the Houthis -- the most recent Monday.

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