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Houthis shoot down US MQ-9 Reaper drone flying near Yemen

An American MQ-9 Reaper flying near Yemen has been shot down by Houthi militants, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday.

The Houthis said they had targeted the Reaper as well as two American ships in the Gulf of Aden in a statement Monday.

PHOTO: A still image taken of video released by Houthis of what they say is the downing of a U.S. drone off Yemen, Feb. 19, 2024.

A still image taken of video released by Houthis of what they say is the downing of a U.S. drone off Yemen, Feb. 19, 2024.

Houthi Military Media via Reuters

This is their second downing of a Reaper, having shot one down one in international airspace near Yemen in November.

The U.S. has designated the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, as a global terrorist organization amid rising regional tensions and a consistent deployment of missiles and drones against each other since war in Gaza broke out.

PHOTO: An MQ-9 Reaper flies a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range, July 15, 2019.

An MQ-9 Reaper flies a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range, July 15, 2019.

Airman 1st Class William Rio Rosado/U.S. Air Force

The U.S. conducted what it calls five self-defense strikes Sunday against the Houthis, one of which targeted an unmanned underwater vessel, the first submarine the U.S. says the Houthis have employed since tensions began to flare in October.

The remotely-operated Reaper is charged primarily with intelligence gathering and costs more than $50 million, according to the Air Force.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

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