A US Navy destroyer and several commercial ships came under attack in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Pentagon.
The assault marks an escalation of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war as multiple vessels—US military and civilians—found themselves in the crosshairs of a Houthi assault for the first time since October 7.
“We’re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney … and will provide information as it becomes available,” in a statement released by the US Department of Defense. The military ship is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that can provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities, including Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Yemen’s Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for the strikes on two ships described as being linked to Israel but did not acknowledge targeting an American warship.
The first vessel, the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer, which a British firm owns, was hit by a missile and the second by a drone, a Panamanian-flagged container ship called Number Nine while in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, told the Associated Press that the attack began about 10 a.m. in Sanaa, Yemen, and had gone on for as much as five hours. Another official who similarly spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason said the Carney had intercepted at least one drone during the attack.
The strikes were in response to the demands of the Yemeni people and calls from Islamic nations to stand with the Palestinian people,
“The Yemeni armed forces continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea (and Gulf of Aden) until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops,” Saree said in a broadcast message.
An Israeli military spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from AP for comment.
While the Yemen rebels have not directly targeted the Americans for some time, this latest strike is reminiscent of 2016 when the US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory to retaliate for missiles being fired at U.S. Navy ships at the time.
With wire services