Yemen, controlled by Houthi rebels, fired ballistic missiles at a US destroyer that was responding to an attack on a commercial tanker.



CNN

The US military announced on Sunday that two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, towards an American warship in the Gulf of Aden, after the US Navy responded to a distress call from a commercial tanker seized by gunmen.

The US Central Command said in a statement that the tanker, named Central Park, was carrying a shipment of phosphoric acid when its crew requested help “they were attacked by an unknown party.” statement.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday that under international maritime rules and laws, when there is a distress signal, “all ships in the vicinity are required to come and provide assistance and support.” Although Ryder added that there were three Chinese Navy ships in the vicinity that “did not respond.”

He added: “It is assumed that those ships are there as part of an anti-piracy mission.” “But they didn’t respond.”

This incident comes after the Iranian-backed Houthi forces launched numerous attacks against American interests in the region, and Israel, since the Hamas attacks on October 7, with continuing fears throughout the region about the possibility of a widening scope of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Houthis A Shiite political and military organization In Yemen, the country is locked in a civil war against a coalition supported by Saudi Arabia. They expressed their support for the Palestinians and organized protests in Yemen against the Israeli attack on Gaza.

Ryder told reporters on Monday that initial indications showed that the attackers currently being held at Maysoon were Somali.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, and allied ships from the anti-piracy task force operating in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, responded to the call for help and “demanded the release of the ship” upon its arrival. Central Command said.

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The statement published on the social media platform

The statement added, “The Freemason pursued the attackers, which led to their eventual surrender.”

He added that the individuals “tried to reach the ship and control it, but when the joint task force responded, they fled.” Ryder said Mason’s Visit, Boarding, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team pursued and detained the attackers, before returning to Mason, evacuating the ship and making contact with the crew to ensure their safety.

Less than two hours after the Navy’s VBSS team cleared Central Park — at 1:41 a.m. local time Monday — two ballistic missiles were fired from areas controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen “toward the general location” of the USS Mason and Central Park. . The statement said.

The statement said: “The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden, about ten nautical miles from the ships.”

The Mason was finishing his response to the Central Park distress call at the time of the missile launch. She added that there was no damage or injuries to Central Park or Mason as a result.

Ryder declined Monday to specify whether the missiles were believed to be targeting the Mason area and Central Park. He said that while the Masons were tracking the missiles, they did not try to shoot them down and they “landed into the water without causing any harm.”

A statement from UK-based Zodiac Maritime, which operates Central Park, said on Sunday that the Liberian-flagged chemical tanker was safe “and all crew, vessel and cargo are unharmed.”

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The tanker appears to have ties to an Israeli-owned company; marine zodiac Blogger As a subsidiary of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Ofer Global, although Zodiac Maritime spokesman Jani Jarvinen said on Sunday that Zodiac “is not owned by Ofer Global.”

Marine domain security is “essential to regional stability,” Gen. Eric Kurella, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement on Sunday.

“We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes,” Kurella said.

Since the Hamas attack on Israel, the United States has emphasized the priority of avoiding the conflict spilling over into a broader conflict in the region, and US forces have been deployed in Iraq and Syria as well. Under regular attack By Iranian-backed groups. Among the groups supported by Tehran, the Houthis are of particular concern because they are more independent from Iran than some.

Despite the escalation of attacks in the region, CNN I mentioned previously Intelligence has shown that Iran and its proxies are so far calibrating their responses to avoid direct conflict with the United States or Israel.

But over the past few weeks, the United States has intercepted a number of cruise missiles and attack drones launched by the Houthis toward Israel or American assets. Last week, the US destroyer USS Thomas Hudner shot down several one-way attack drones launched from Yemen while on patrol in the Red Sea. Also on November 15 Hudner A drone was shot down It is believed that he was heading towards the ship. Earlier this month, IDF He said frustrated An air attack with ballistic missiles and drones against targets in Israel.

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The Houthi naval forces renewed their warning in a statement last week to ships in the Red Sea flying the Israeli flag, operated by Israeli companies or owned by Israelis.

The group announced its intention to continue military operations against Israeli ships and interests until “the Israeli aggression against Gaza stops.”

The statement warned any military units that provide protection for Israeli ships, indicating that they would be considered legitimate targets for Houthi operations.

Ryder said Monday that the Pentagon still believes that the conflict between Israel and Hamas has not yet spread to the region despite the recent attacks.

“We see that the conflict has largely been contained between Israel and Hamas. “That doesn’t mean you haven’t seen Iranian proxies trying to exploit the opportunity to advance their own goals,” Ryder said.

“In the case of Iraq and Syria, you know, we’ve known that these groups have long wanted to see our forces leave. But… no, we don’t see this turning into a regional conflict. Although tensions are high again, that’s something we take seriously.” “Seriously, we are trying to ensure that it does not happen.”

This is a developing story and has been updated with additional information.

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