According to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), an American destroyer intercepted and destroyed multiple drones on Sunday (Dec 3) in the Red Sea. The destroyer was aiding commercial ships that had come under attack from Yemen. The Pentagon had earlier acknowledged reports of attacks on both an American warship and commercial vessels in that vicinity.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels had claimed drone and missile attacks on two Israeli vessels in the area.
In recent weeks, the Iran-backed group in Yemen have launched a series of drones and missiles toward Israel, particularly since the beginning of the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas and even seized what they called an Israel-linked cargo vessel.
The US military said that the Carney, an American destroyer, responded to distress calls and provided assistance following missile and drone launches from Houthi-controlled territory.
“Today, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea,” said the CENTCOM.
“The Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS Carney responded to the distress calls from the ships and provided assistance” and shot down three drones that were heading for the warship, the statement added.
Carney detected a missile from the Houthi-controlled area of Yemen which landed near the Bahamas-flagged M/V Unity Explorer. The cargo ship later reported minor damage from another missile from a rebel-held area, reported AFP.
A Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, M/V Number 9, also reported some damage to the vessel but said no casualties after a missile attack from Yemen. M/V Sophie II, which also has Panama’s flag, said it was struck as well but reported no significant harm.
The US military has called these attacks a “direct threat to international commerce and maritime security.”
Houthis claim responsibility for attacks in Red Sea, US blames Iran
The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks on Unity Explorer and Number 9 – both reportedly linked to United Kingdom-based companies – earlier on Sunday saying that it attacked two Israeli ships with an armed drone and a naval missile.
A spokesperson for the Iran-backed group also said that the ships were targeted after they rejected warnings, but did not give any other details about the incident.
In a statement on social media, the group said, the attacks on the country’s vessels would continue “until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops”.
Meanwhile, the US has blamed Iran for enabling these attacks by the Houthis in Yemen and that it will take appropriate measures in coordination with its allies.
“We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Huthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran. The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners,” said the Pentagon.
On Sunday (Nov 26), the US military captured five attackers who seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden.