Yemen rebels fire missiles at US Navy ship

The Shiite Houthis, backed by Iran, have been battling with the Sunnis in the country and a Saudi-led coalition, one of the several proxy wars being waged in the region.

Shiite rebels in Yemen fired two missiles at the Navy’s USS Mason, a destroyer passing by in the Red Sea. The missiles missed their mark and landed in the sea. The ship used its onboard defensive measures after the first missile was fired

No Americans were wounded in the attack, and the ship escaped undamaged.

The incident occurred at a crucial international waterway, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and is the second-such launch in recent days, after the rebels successfully hit a United Arab Emirates (UAE) ship last week. UAE described the vessel as carrying humanitarian aid and having a crew of civilians, while the Houthis said they hit a warship.

The Iran-backed Shiite rebels, named Houthis after their tribe name, offered no reason for the attacks.

Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for US Navy Forces Central Command, stated Monday that it was yet unclear if the navy ship, a guided missile destroyer, was specifically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction over an hour’s time period, probably indicating that this was a deliberate attack and not stray fire form the civil war waging in the country.

The Bab el-Mandeb Strait serves as a gateway for oil tankers headed to Europe and is a main maritime route through the Suez Canal, and therefore these attacks have raised fears of a possible hindering of the passage through the area.

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The Shiite Houthis, backed by Iran, have been battling with the Sunnis in the country and a Saudi-led coalition, one of the several proxy wars being waged in the region.

Yemen’s war is largely overshadowed by the conflict against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The United Nations estimates the conflict has killed at least 9,000 people and displaced nearly 3 million more.

By: World Israel News
AP contributed to this report.