American Warship Opens Fire At Attack By Hamas-Aligned Rebels, Reports Say

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Topline

An American warship reportedly opened fire in the Red Sea Sunday amid an attack by Iran-backed Yemeni rebels, marking a major increase in maritime aggression in the Israel-Hamas war.

Key Facts

The USS Carney shot down a drone in self defense and another in response to a distress call from the Bahamas-flagged Unity Explorer, an anonymous U.S. official told the Associated Press.

The Yemeni Houthi rebel group—which has been targeting Israel amid its war with Hamas—confirmed Sunday it attacked both the Unity Explorer, a bulk carrier owned by a British firm, and a Panamanian-flagged container ship called the Number 9, alleging the ships ignored prior warnings, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said.

The Carney was not damaged and no crew members were injured in the attacks, which took place in the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandab strait near Sanaa, Yemen, and lasted approximately five hours, U.S. officials told the AP.

The attacks come as Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been targeting Israel amid its war with Hamas.

Crucial Quote

“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.”

Key Background

The U.S. Navy has already shot down several missiles fired in Middle Eastern waters amid the Israel-Hamas war. The USS Thomas Hudner downed drones launched from Yemen last month. Two ballistic missiles were also fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the USS Mason in the Gulf of Aden about a week ago as it was responding to a distress call from a commercial vessel believed to be under attack by Somalis, CNN reported. On Saturday, in the Persian Gulf, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group intercepted an Iranian aircraft operating in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner,” according to CNN.

Tangent

The Houthis seized a car carrier ship linked to an Israeli billionaire last month and took its 25 crew members hostage. The rebel group said in a statement at the time that “all ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets,” calling the seizure “a practical step that proves the seriousness of the Yemeni armed forces in waging the sea battle.” The ship, named the Galaxy Leader, and its crew, are being held at the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

ReutersBritain’s maritime agency reports possible Red Sea blast
AP NewsYemen’s Houthi rebels hijack an Israeli-linked ship in the Red Sea and take 25 crew members hostage
ReutersRed Sea attacks on ships spark safety concerns for sailors

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