WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down on Wednesday by Yemen's Houthis, two U.S. officials and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement said.
While U.S. drones have been shot down by Houthis in the past, this incident comes at a particularly tense time in the region.
Washington is on heightened alert for activity by Iran-backed groups as regional tensions soar during the Israel-Hamas war.
The U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone, made by General Atomics, had been brought down off the coast of Yemen. They did not say if it was taken down in international airspace.
In a statement, a Houthi military spokesperson said they shot down the drone in airspace over Yemeni territorial waters.
In 2019, U.S. drones were brought down on two separate occasions by the group in Yemen.
The Pentagon has surged thousands of troops to the region to try and contain the conflict, including two aircraft carriers. Some of those troops have been in the Red Sea aboard military vessels.
Last month, a U.S. Navy warship intercepted four cruise missiles and more than a dozen drones launched by the Houthis from Yemen headed toward Israel.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington, Phil Stewart in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and Aziz El Yaakoubi in Riyahd; Editing by Chris Reese and Rod Nickel)