DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Commercial ships came under attack Sunday by drones and missiles in the Red Sea and a U.S. warship there opened fire in self-defense as part of an hours long assault claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials said.
The attack potentially marked a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war as multiple vessels found themselves in the crosshairs of a single Houthi assault for the first time in the conflict. “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 Defense Department told The Associated Press.
The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer that’s already shot down multiple rockets the Houthis have fired toward Israel so far in the war. It wasn’t damaged in the attack and no injuries were reported on board, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss early details of a military operation.
The Carney responded after hearing from the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer that it was under attack by missile fire, the official said. The Carney shot down two drones during the attack, one in self-defense and another after checking on the Unity Explorer, the official said. Assessments were still being made on the Unity Explorer.
The British military earlier said there had been a suspected drone attack and explosions in the Red Sea, without elaborating.
Comment: AnsarAllah officials have claimed responsibility for the attacks and have declared they will target any Israeli ship passing through the Red Sea. It doesn’t appear either of the two targeted ships were connected to Israel. Israel has sent a sub and several other warships to the Red Sea.
The Houthis have proven tough, wily and resourceful. I doubt a few demonstrative long distance strikes at coastal targets will deter them. It’s going to take some serious surveillance and target acquisition from air, sea and space assets, along with some close in SOF assets. In the meantime we need equally serious air and surface defense to protect commercial traffic in the Red Sea. Are we up to it?