An unmanned U.S. observation aircraft was shot down over Yemen on June 6, according to a statement by U.S. Central Command.
CENTCOM said the MQ-9 Reaper was shot down by Houthi rebels with a SA-6 surface-to-air missile that was enabled with Iranian assistance, according to the release.
A week later on June 13, the release said an Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile failed to shoot down an MQ-9 that was observing the M/T Kokuka Courageous, one of the two tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. The Reaper arrived minutes earlier at 6:20 a.m. at the M/T Altair, which was on fire, according to CENTCOM.
The release says the attack on the tankers were carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which Iran has denied.
The U.S. military on Friday released a video it said shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz.
The CENTCOM statement appears to confirm reporting by media outlets that Iran tried to shoot down a U.S. drone around the time of the attacks on the tankers, as well as reports that a Reaper drone was shot down the week before by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
CNN reported Saturday that Iran launched a missile at a U.S. drone hours before the attack on the tankers, but failed to shoot it down.
Houthi rebels in Yemen released video footage and photos of what they claim was an MQ-9 that was shot down, according to BreakingDefense.