Iranian-backed Houthis rebels have claimed responsibility for a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone crash off the coast of Yemen on Thursday, Fox News confirmed on Friday. 

Thursday’s crash is the fourth remotely piloted drone brought down by Iranian-proxy groups since November, costing the U.S. government upwards of $120 million. 

It is also the third time Houthi rebels have brought down a U.S. MQ-9 drone.

SHIP COMES UNDER ATTACK OFF COAST OF YEMEN AS HOUTHI REBEL CAMPAIGN APPEARS TO GAIN NEW SPEED

A reaper drone flying

Remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper drones cost around $30 million each.  (Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

Last fall, the Houthis released video of a reaper drone the rebels shot down on Nov. 8, one day after Hamas’ unprovoked attack on Israel

The rebels also brought down a second MQ-9 earlier this year, and another Iranian-proxy group brought one down in Iraq in January. 

MQ-9 Reapers are primarily used to collect intelligence, but can also be armed with Hellfire missiles. They have a wingspan of 66 feet and cost about $30 million.

Unlike other Iranian-proxy groups, the Houthis continue to launch attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. They have launched 131 attacks to date, according to a U.S. defense official.

YEMEN’S HOUTHI REBELS CONTINUE TO LAUNCH ATTACKS DESPITE MONTH OF US-LED AIRSTRIKES

Mideast-Tensions

Members of the UK’s Royal Navy aboard the HMS Diamond shoot down a missile fired from Yemen by Iranian-backed Houthis on Wednesday.  (LPhot Chris Sellars/MoD Crown via AP)

On Thursday, Houthis also attacked a ship traveling through the Gulf of Aden, officials said.

The attack came after the U.S. military said early Thursday that an allied warship shot down a Houthi missile targeting a vessel the day before near the same area. 

Pro-Houthi rally in Yemen

Houthi rebels lift their rifles and chant slogans in Sanaa, Yemen, last month. (Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

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The Houthis also claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s assault, which comes after a period of relatively few rebel attacks on shipping in the region over Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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