American drone shot down in Yemen

 November 9, 2023

An American drone was shot down off the coast of Yemen Wednesday by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The downing of the $32 million MQ-9 Reaper drone is the latest skirmish in the region since Israel's war with Hamas opened up fears of a wider conflict.

At least 20 U.S. troops have received traumatic brain injuries in Iran-backed rocket attacks in Iraq and Syria that have injured dozens.

America retaliates over Iran attacks

American forces in Iraq were hit three times Thursday in the most widespread attack yet since the war in Israel began. There were no reported casualties.

The attack came a day after two F-15 fighter jets bombed a weapons facility operated by Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria.

The strike was the second time since October that the U.S. has struck targets in Syria.

“The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

“The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities,” he added. “We urge against any escalation.”

Tensions rise

The Pentagon has boosted its presence in the Middle East in what it calls "deterrence" against Iran and its proxies, such as Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Biden has said he will not put boots on the ground, but roughly 2,000 have been put on "prepare to deploy" orders.

Last month, a U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea shot down Israel-bound missiles that were launched by the Houthis, a rebel group in Yemen backed by Iran.

Hamas, the Iran-backed terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, killed 1,400 Israelis in an attack on October 7. Thousands of Palestinians have since been killed in Israel's military operation in Gaza.

As the death toll rises in Gaza, Biden has taken a more ambivalent position than his initial unqualified support for Israel, urging the Jewish state to permit "pauses" to get aid into Gaza and let hostages out. Biden has differentiated the "pauses" from a wider cease-fire, which Biden says he does not support.

Israel relented on Thursday and agreed to a brief four hour pause, but Biden says he wants a longer pause than that.

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