On Sunday, three commercial ships were targeted in the Red Sea, which led to a U.S. warship shooting down numerous UAVs that were en route to those ships.
This new revelation may indicate a significant intensification of a string of maritime attacks in the Middle East associated with the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“Today, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea,” a statement by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) explained. “These three vessels are connected to 14 separate nations.”
According to a US official who spoke with Fox News, the USS Carney shot down three Houthi drones that were en route to it while it was in the southern Red Sea, somewhat north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait. The USS Carney claimed to have acted in self-defense. An official from the Houthi movement in Yemen asserted that the drones were launched from their territory.
It was the USS Carney that initially noticed the Houthi ballistic missiles aiming towards the UK-owned and -operated Unity Explorer. The USS Carney successfully intercepted and destroyed the initial Houthi UAV that was approaching United Explorer without causing any damage or injuries to personnel.
The USS Carney, a guided-missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class, has been engaged in a recent campaign of shooting down drones and cruise missiles fired by the Houthi rebels, an organization backed by Iran, who have taken blame for Sunday’s strike.
Following the initial incident on Sunday, another unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) struck the Unity Explorer later that afternoon, causing minor damage. The USS Carney shot down a second unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was en route to it.
Ships Sophie II and Number 9 were also hit by missiles later that day. The USS Carney successfully intercepted and destroyed a drone that was en route to Sophie II.
International trade and maritime security are at grave danger from these assaults. Their actions have put the lives of crew members from many countries at risk, according to CENTCOM. “We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.”
“The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners,” according to the press release.
A White House official told Fox News earlier Sunday that the USS Carney did respond to the distress calls made by the American destroyer, but that the destroyer itself did not come under attack in the Red Sea.
There are no injuries to any of the crew members on the commercial vessels, which represent multiple nations, meaning the crews are from one country, while the ships are owned by another country and flagged by another, according to the official.
Without providing any further details, the British military had earlier stated that explosions and what they believed to be a drone strike had occurred in the Red Sea.
The attacks were claimed by Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree. He stated that two vessels were attacked in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. One vessel was hit by a missile, and the other was hit by a drone. Before the strike, he said, the ships had allegedly disregarded warnings from Houthi authorities.
Saree did not mention any U.S. warship being involved in the attack, according to the AP.
“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. “The Yemeni armed forces renew their warning to all Israeli ships or those associated with Israelis that they will become a legitimate target if they violate what is stated in this statement.”
At least seventy-five attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East have occurred since mid-last month. Attacks on United States warships at sea are not included in this figure according to the Pentagon.
The confrontation between Israel and Hamas has the potential to escalate into a regional war, and as a result, ships all around the world have been targeted.
The Houthis had earlier in November captured an Israeli-affiliated vehicle transport ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. Near Hodeida, a port city, the rebels still control the ship. After assisting a vessel linked to Israel that had been briefly captured by gunmen, another U.S. warship last week also had missiles landed near it.
The stakes in the intensifying maritime conflict were already high, but the Houthis hadn’t specifically targeted the Americans for a while, which only increased them. To respond for missiles fired against U.S. Navy ships, notably the USS Mason, in 2016, the United States used Tomahawk cruise missiles to destroy three coastal radar installations in Houthi-controlled territory.