US military officials have confirmed that an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was shot down in western Yemen on Oct 1, saying the incident "is under investigation", DefenseTech reported Oct 2. Video posted on Twitter by journalist and author Babak Taghvaee shows the drone hurtling toward the ground while on fire and captures a crowd gathering around the wreckage.
A nearby photographer said the drone came down in a crowded area, but no injuries are being reported. Brown provided few details, saying the incident was "under investigation".
The MQ-9 Reaper, with a 20-metre (66-foot) wingspan and a maximum payload of more than 1,800 kilograms (nearly 4,000 pounds), can carry a range of weapons including missiles and laser-guided bombs. The Pentagon did not say whether the drone was on a surveillance mission or was to combat AQAP. It is also deployed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
The UN Human Rights Council last week agreed to send war crimes investigators to Yemen, overcoming strong resistance from Saudi Arabia.
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Yemen's internationally-backed government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for more than two years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels over control of the country.
An airstrike launched by the Saudi-led coalition hit a civilian target, killing five people and injuring four others in the southwestern of Taiz on Monday, pro-Houthi media outlets reported.
U.S. Central Command confirmed the drone was shot down Sunday.
The two-year-old Yemeni civil war has left at least 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced and subject to diseases such as cholera, and has caused what the United Nations has described as a humanitarian catastrophe.