US warship, several commercial vessels attacked in Red Sea: Pentagon

The attacked warship of the US Navy was identified as USS Carney

170330-N-WZ792-198 Representational image

A US warship and multiple commercial ships in the Red Sea came under attack on Sunday, the Pentagon said. The attacked warship of the US Navy was identified as USS Carney -- an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

“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 said.

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

The warship reportedly intercepted at least one drone during the attack.

The Pentagon did not identify where it believed the fire came from. However, Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been launching a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel as it wages war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters reportedly told AP that the attack began about 10 AM in Sanaa, Yemen, and had gone on for as much as five hours. 

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 US 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 US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory to retaliate for missiles being fired at US Navy ships at the time. 

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