The MQ-1 "was returning from an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission when technical complications caused a loss of communication with the aircraft July 16," DoD spokesman Maj. Roger Cabiness II said in an email to Army Times. "There were no weapons on board the aircraft. We are working with Iraqi authorities to recover the aircraft."
Reuters and The Hill reported Tuesday that a U.S. drone had crashed, with Reuters, citing an Iraqi intelligence official, reporting that wreckage had been found near Samawah, about 180 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Images that appear to show wreckage of an Army-branded MQ-1 Reaper appeared that same day on social media:
One image included an unidentified man snapping a self-portrait in front of the alleged crash site:
The DoD statement did not include the location of the crash nor confirm the authenticity of the photos. The lost UAV did not have any weapons aboard, Cabiness said, and U.S. officials "are working with Iraqi authorities to recover the aircraft."
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.