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Wednesday / November 20.

U.S. military drone shot down over Yemen: officials

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Force officer passes in front of a MQ-9 Reaper drone, one of a squadron that has arrived to step up the fight against the Taliban, at the Kandahar air base, Afghanistan January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen’s Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defenses had brought down a U.S. drone.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday.

This is not the first time a U.S. drone has been shot down in Yemen. In June, the U.S. military said that Houthi rebels had shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran.

U.S. forces have occasionally launched drone and air strikes against Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

One of the officials said that it appeared that the drone had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile operated by the Iran-aligned Houthi group. The other official cautioned that it was too early to tell who was responsible for the incident.

The drone shoot down comes as tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since President Donald Trump’s administration last year quit an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and began to ratchet up sanctions.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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via Reuters