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  • People gather around the engine of a drone aircraft which the Houthi rebels said they have downed in Sanaa, Yemen Oct. 1, 2017.

    People gather around the engine of a drone aircraft which the Houthi rebels said they have downed in Sanaa, Yemen Oct. 1, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 October 2017

The war in Yemen has displaced more than 2 million people.

A U.S. surveillance drone has crashed in Sanaa, Yemen after being shot down by the Houthi rebel forces, SABA, the regional news agency, reports.

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A Reuters photographer said the drone came down at around 11 a.m. local time in a crowded area on the outskirts of the capital. There were no reports of any casualties.

The charred wreckage of the aircraft was carried out by the Houthis aboard a Toyota pickup truck.

"This morning, we shot down a plane affiliated with the Saudi and American air force by the Popular Committees (anti-Houthi local militias) and with the help of God Almighty. And we will shoot down more and more (planes) with the power of God whom we trust," a local resident Mohamed al-Wade'y told Reuters.

“The drone, General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, was shot down by a guided missile fired from our Rocketry Force,” a statement from Houthi group said, adding they believe the drone was on a spy mission over the capital.

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U.S. officials have made no comment on the incident, however, the United States is a known supporter of the Saudi-led air campaign against the rebel group who control the majority of northern Yemen. The Houthi militants are currently battling Saudi coalition which works to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

"There's no surprise that the Houthi armed group has taken down a U.S. MQ-9 drone over the capital Sanaa — the group has displayed sophisticated weaponry capability over the Yemen civil war," said Khalil Dewan, a researcher who specializes in armed drones and international law, to Middle Eastern Eye.

"It's certainly not the first time the Houthis downed a U.S. drone. The armed group reported that they destroyed a drone hovering over Marib province back in February," he said.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war. It began in March 2015 when the Houthis advanced on Hadi’s interim headquarters in the southern port city of Aden, forcing him to flee the country and seek Saudi help.

The war has caused a humanitarian disaster in the country, where more than 2 million people have been displaced while around 750,000 are suspected to have been infected with cholera.

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