A U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down off the coast of Yemen on Wednesday, a defense official confirmed to CBS News. The official said the drone was operating in international airspace over international waters.
U.S. Central Command is assessing the incident, the official said.
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems primarily for the United States Air Force.
A spokesperson for the Houthis in Yemen claimed on X that air defenses brought down the drone.
MQ-9s are used primarily for collecting intelligence but can also conduct strikes against targets.
This is the latest incident in what threatens to turn the war between Israel and Hamas into a larger conflict. Last week, the Iranian-backed Houthis announced they launched missile and drone attacks against Israel.
Those attacks follow an incident last month in which a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Red Sea shot down missiles from Yemen that were potentially headed toward Israel.
The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014, launching a years-long devastating civil war against the internationally recognized government of Yemen.
The Pentagon acknowledged last week it was flying MQ-9s over Gaza in order to gather intelligence to help with hostage recovery efforts.