An American warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack Sunday in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said. Yemen's Houthi rebels later claimed attacks on two ships they described as being linked to Israel but did not acknowledge targeting a US Navy vessel. The attack potentially marked a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war, the AP reports. "We're aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea," a Pentagon statement said. The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The British military earlier said there had been a suspected drone attack and explosions in the Red Sea without elaborating.
The Pentagon did not identify where the fire came from. However, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed responsibility, saying the first vessel was hit by a missile and the second by a drone while in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Saree did not mention any US warship being involved. He said the attacks would continue as long as Israel continues its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Houthis have been launching a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, per the AP, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel during the war.
A US official said the attack began about 10am in Sanaa, Yemen, and had gone on for as long as five hours. Another US official said the Carney intercepted at least one drone during the attack. Global shipping had increasingly been targeted as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to become a wider regional conflict. In November, the Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen; the rebels still hold the vessel near the port of Hodeida. Missiles landed near another US warship after it assisted a vessel linked to Israel that had briefly been seized by gunmen. However, the Houthis had not directly targeted Americans for some time. In 2016, the US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory to retaliate for missiles being fired at Navy ships.
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