Aden: A reconnaissance drone, presumed to be American, has crashed in Yemen where Washington has waged a sustained drone war against Al Qaida, a local tribal leader said.

The unmanned aircraft crashed in the Wadi Abida district of the central province of Marib, a major battleground between Iran-backed rebels and loyalists of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the rebels said they shot it down.

“The aircraft was not armed with missiles,” tribal leader Moajeb Al Maribi said, without elaborating on what brought it down.

Washington operates armed as well as reconnaissance drones over Yemen for its campaign against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which it regards as the terror network’s most dangerous branch.

The rebel-controlled Saba news agency said the drone had been shot down by the rebels and their allies — renegade troops still loyal to Hadi’s ousted predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“The heroes of the army and the popular committees shot down a hostile drone in Wadi Abida district on Monday evening,” it said.

Loyalist forces and allied troops from a Saudi-led coalition control the city of Marib but the surrounding province has seen protracted fighting with the rebels and their allies.

Al Qaida also has a long-standing presence in the province.