The Houthi movement in Yemen has claimed responsibility for targeting two Israeli ships with an armed drone and a naval missile. The ships, Unity Explorer and Number Nine, were reportedly targeted after ignoring warnings from the group’s navy. In addition, a British maritime security company reported that a bulk carrier ship was hit by at least two drones while sailing in the Red Sea, and another container ship suffered damage from a drone attack northwest of the northern Yemeni port of Hodeida.
The Pentagon has also reported that a US warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack in the Red Sea, which could potentially mark a significant escalation in a series of maritime attacks since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7. The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was among the ships targeted, but the Pentagon did not identify the source of the attack.
The Houthi rebels have been launching drones and missiles targeting Israel as it bombs Gaza. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that the attack began at about 10am in Sanaa, Yemen, and lasted for about five hours. Last month, the Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen and still hold the vessel near the port city of Hodeida. Missiles also landed near another US warship last week after it assisted a vessel linked to Israel that had briefly been seized by gunmen.
The Houthis had not directly targeted the Americans for some time, further raising the stakes in the growing maritime conflict. In 2016, the US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory to retaliate for missiles being fired at US Navy ships, including the USS Mason, at the time. The situation remains tense as the conflict continues to unfold.
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