American drone crashes amid militant fighting in Somalia

A U.S. reconnaissance drone has crashed in Somalia, but it’s unclear if it was shot down by Islamist militants, a senior U.S. official tells Fox News.

The crash happened Tuesday in the southern Shabelle region, where African troops are fighting al Shabaab insurgents, the provincial governor told Reuters.

Abdikadir Mohamed Nur said the Al Qaeda-linked group had shot at the drone for several hours, eventually hitting it.

"Finally they hit it and the drone crashed," Nur told Reuters.

The cause of the crash has not been determined, and the U.S. official told Fox News that it is still being investigated. The official says it is unlikely it was shot down by militants.

Kenyan, Ethiopian and African Union forces are fighting al Shabaab, the group driven out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2011. They hope to prevent the militant group from gaining ground in eastern Africa.

The U.S. does not disclose drone activities in Somalia, but they have been used to kill Somali and al Shabaab militants, according to Reuters.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a lobbying group, says U.S. Predator and Reaper drones cost around $2,500 to $3,500 to operate each flight hour.

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