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U.S. warship, commercial ships attacked in Red Sea, Pentagon says

A Yemeni group claimed responsibility for attacking the commercial ships over what it described as links to Israel.
 
The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, shown here in Souda Bay, Greece, was attacked Sunday in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said, potentially marking a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney, shown here in Souda Bay, Greece, was attacked Sunday in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said, potentially marking a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war. [ PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS BILL DODGE | AP ]
Published Dec. 3, 2023

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — 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 U.S. Navy vessel.

The attack potentially marked a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

“We’re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available,” the Pentagon told The Associated Press.

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 it believed the fire came from. However, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed the attacks, 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 U.S. warship being involved in the attack. 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, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel amid the war.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the attack began about 10 a.m. in Sanaa, Yemen, and had gone on for as much as five hours. Another U.S. official who similarly spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason said the Carney had 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 — even as a truce briefly halted fighting and Hamas exchanged hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. However, the collapse of the truce and the resumption of punishing Israeli airstrikes and its ground offensive there had raised the risk of the seaborne attacks resuming.

Earlier in November, the Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship also linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen. The rebels still hold the vessel near the port city of Hodeida. Missiles also landed near another U.S. warship last week after it assisted a vessel linked to Israel that had briefly been seized by gunmen.

However, the Houthis had not directly targeted the Americans for some time, further raising the stakes in the growing maritime conflict. In 2016, the U.S. 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.

— Jon Gambrell with Tara Copp and Dana Beltaji, Associated Press