Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who are locked in a deadly war with the Saudi-supported government, on Sunday said they had downed a drone on the northern outskirts of the country’s capital.
The Huthi-run Al-Masirah television channel said the Shiite rebel camp’s anti-aircraft defence had brought down a Saudi-operated MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle which is produced by the United States. No casualties were reported.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the United States had yet responded to the report.
An AFP photographer at the scene said dozens of residents rushed to examine the debris from a burning aircraft at the northern entrance to the capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the Huthis and their ally former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Yemen’s years-long war has produced one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with poverty and port blockades compounding the deadly violence between the Saudi-backed government and an alliance joining the Huthis and Saleh.
For decades sworn enemies of Saleh, who ruled Yemen from its unification in 1990 until 2012, the Huthis joined ranks with the strongman in 2014 and forced out the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, Saleh’s successor.
Saudi Arabia and its allies in an Arab military coalition joined the war the following year in a bid to curb the reach of the Saleh-Huthi alliance.
More than 8,500 people have since been killed and nearly 49,000 wounded in the conflict, according to the World Health Organization.
The MQ-9 Reaper, with a 20-metre wingspan and a maximum payload of more than 1,800 kilograms, can carry a range of weapons including missiles and laser-guided bombs.