The Biden administration has declared a halt to US support for Saudi offensive operations in Yemen. The Yemeni Houthis now claim to have shot down a US surveillance and attack drone over central Yemen, although it could also have been a Saudi lookalike.
The Houthi movement in Yemen has released footage that appears to depict an MQ-9 Reaper drone being struck by an anti-air missile a day after announcing the feat.
On Tuesday, Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e announced that the Air Defenses had struck an “American MQ9 drone” with a missile of undisclosed make and model, the Houthi official news outlet Al-Masirah reported.
According to Sare’e, the drone was operating over Mar’ib Governorate and had attacked Houthi forces in several of the province’s districts.
However, it seems likely the Houthis have made an understandable error and confused a General Atomics RQ-9 Reaper with a China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-4. The two drones look extremely similar, distinguishable only by the CH-4’s lack of a ventral fin below its V-shaped tail, which the grainy video does not seem to show. China sold the Saudis two CH-4s in 2014 after the US refused to export the Reaper, and in 2017 signed a deal to build a drone factory in the kingdom.
Neither the US nor Saudi Arabia have commented about the claims.
If it’s truly an American Reaper, this would be the fourth US drone the Houthis have claimed to shoot down. In 2019,…