The move was the second time in a week that it shot down a pro-Syrian government aircraft in the sky. "The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the U.S. military shot down the Shahed 129 as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near al-Tanf in southeast Syria, where the U.S. is holding training sessions for local fighters against the Islamic State group, VOA reported. Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a U.S. warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked U.S.-backed fighters in southern Syria.
Amid Syria's five-year-old civil war and Iraq's push to expel the Islamic State group from its major cities, President Barack Obama has quietly reneged on promises of "no boots on the ground" in recent years. But another American ground battle lingers just outside of the spotlight, in Somalia. A campaign involving private contractors, drone strikes and up to 300 U.S. Special Operations troops against the al Qaeda offshoot group al-Shabab has been escalating there over the past year, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing "senior American military officials." Operations in the country, located in the eastern "Horn of Africa," are expected to expand, according to the Times, on top of efforts that have involved the Navy's SEAL Team 6, weekly raids with troops from nearby Kenya and Uganda and interrogation of prisoners. The American use of force there hasn't exactly been welcome.
An explosive-laden drone, sent by the Islamic State group (ISIS), was intercepted and shot by Kurdish forces in Iraq early this month, according to reports Tuesday. However, the drone blew up and killed two Kurdish fighters and injured two French soldiers. The incident reportedly happened on Oct. 2 in Erbil, which serves as the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where French troops have been fighting along with Kurdish fighters against ISIS, according to the New York Times and French newspaper Le Monde. Neither Iraqi officials nor French authorities have confirmed the incident. About 500 French military personnel have been deployed in Iraq to fight ISIS.
Iran concluded a major, three-day military exercise Friday intended to review the readiness of its armed forces. The drills, called "Great Prophet," also field-tested new military technology, including the Iranian-made Karrar tank and the Hamasseh drone, Middle East Monitor reported. The Iranian air force, elite units and local forces were involved in the exercise. The drills covered four provinces in Iran's southeast region near the border with Pakistan. The exercises came amid growing tensions in the area over the protracted civil war in Syria and the threat posed by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
Drone attacks killed eight men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Saturday night, local residents said, as a U.S. campaign against the militant group goes on amid a wider civil war in the country. Two missiles hit the fighters who had gathered in courtyards in the villages of al-Hudhn and Naqeel al-Hayala, residents from the southern coastal province of Abyan told Reuters by phone. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of a war pitting the Iran-allied Houthis against forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly. The group has carried out attacks against the Yemeni state for years, plotted to blow up U.S.-bound airliners and claimed responsibility for the January 2015 attack in Paris on a French magazine that killed 12 people. The United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants, although it evacuated the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March last year.