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Another US MQ-9 Reaper drone reportedly downed in Yemen

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Another U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone went down in Yemen, images purported to show Wednesday, as Yemen’s Houthi rebels continued attacks on shipping around the Red Sea over the Israel-Hamas war.

The Houthis released footage they said showed the aircraft being targeted with a surface-to-air missile in a desert region of Yemen’s central Marib province. It marked the third-such downing this month alone.

Images analyzed by The Associated Press showed the MQ-9 on its belly in the barren desert, its tail assembly disconnected from the rest of its body. At least one hatch on the drone appeared to have been opened after it landed there, though the drone remained broadly intact without any clear blast damage. One image included Wednesday’s date.

IRAN-BACKED HOUTHI REBELS IN YEMEN CLAIM THEY SHOT DOWN ANOTHER US DRONE AS ATTACKS INTENSIFY

Noticeably, the drone did not appear to carry any markings on it.

Authorities in Marib, which remains held by allies of Yemen’s exiled government, did not acknowledge the drone.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, told the AP that «the U.S. Air Force has not lost any aircraft operating within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.» The official declined to elaborate.

The CIA also is believed to have flown Reaper drones over Yemen, both to monitor the war and in its campaign against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen’s local affiliate of the militant group. The CIA declined to comment when reached by the AP.

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa. (AP Photo)

Located 75 miles east of Sanaa, Marib sits on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter Desert at the foot of the Sarawat Mountains running along the Red Sea. The province has seen U.S. drones previously brought down there, in part because the region remains crucial for the outcome of Yemen’s yearslong war.

Since Yemen’s civil war started in 2014, when the Houthis seized most of the country’s north and its capital of Sanaa, the U.S. military has lost at least five drones to the rebels. This month alone, there’s been two others suspected shootdowns of Reapers that the American military hasn’t confirmed.

Reapers cost around $30 million apiece. They can fly at altitudes up to 50,000 feet and have an endurance of up to 24 hours before needing to land.

The Houthis in recent months have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking some 250 hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat.

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On Wednesday, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree acknowledged the rebels attacked the bulk carrier Laax on Tuesday. Saree also claimed a number of other attacks on vessels that have not reported assaults without offering any evidence to support his claim. Saree in the past has exaggerated Houthi attacks.


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Illegally brewed liquor kills at least 34 with dozens hospitalized in southern India

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At least 34 people have died and dozens hospitalized after drinking illegally brewed liquor in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, local media reported on Thursday.

The state’s chief minister M K Stalin said the 34 died after consuming liquor that was tainted with methanol, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

MORE THAN 100 DIE IN INDIA AFTER DRINKING BOOTLEG ALCOHOL LACED WITH TOXIC SUBSTANCE

The incident occurred in the state’s Kallakurichi district, where more than 100 people are being treated in various hospitals, top district official M S Prasanth said. He added that the number of those who are in critical condition keeps changing, suggesting that the death toll could rise.

Relatives of a man who died after drinking illegally brewed liquor walk in a funeral procession for his burial in Kallakurichi district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, India, Thursday, June 20, 2024. The state’s chief minister M K Stalin said the 34 died after consuming liquor that was tainted with methanol, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.  (AP Photo/R. Parthibhan)

Ambulances, doctors and specialists from nearby areas were deployed to the district.

Government officials earlier said several people who were vomiting and had stomach pain were admitted to hospitals Wednesday, triggering a police investigation.

Later that day, Stalin, the chief minister, said in a post on social media platform X that those involved in the crime have been arrested, and action has also been taken against officials who failed to prevent it. «Such crimes that ruin the society will be suppressed with an iron fist,» he added.

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Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India, where the poor cannot afford licensed brands from government-run shops. The illicit liquor, which is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency, has also become a hugely profitable industry as bootleggers pay no taxes and sell enormous quantities of their product to the poor at a cheap rate.

In 2022, more than 30 people died in eastern India’s Bihar state after allegedly drinking tainted liquor sold without authorization. Earlier that same year, at least 28 died from drinking altered liquor in Gujarat state. And in 2020, at least 120 people died after drinking tainted liquor in India’s northern Punjab state.


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