Although the attacks were carried out by the Houthis, the United States has “every reason to believe” that they were “fully authorized by Iran,” according to the statement. “The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners. »
The language poses an explicit threat to Iran that the United States could retaliate for the attacks, which are just the latest in the region in recent weeks. Iran-backed militants have also attacked US troops in Iraq and Syria at least 74 times since October 17.
Separately, on Sunday, the US military carried out a strike in northern Iraq, killing several Iranian-backed fighters, according to a US official, who requested anonymity to speak ahead of an announcement. The fighters were observed preparing to launch a drone or rocket attack, likely against US troops in Iraq and Syria; the United States hit the targets before it could launch weapons.
On Sunday, there were a total of four attacks on three separate commercial vessels linked to 14 separate nations, Central Command said. The Carney, which was on patrol in the Red Sea, responded to the ships’ distress calls, downing three drones in total.
At 9:15 a.m. local time, the Carney detected an anti-ship ballistic missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, targeting the M/V Unity Explorer, a Bahamas-flagged bulk cargo ship owned and operated by the Kingdom -United. The missile fell “near the ship”.
Then at noon, the Carney shot down a drone launched from Yemen. As the drone headed toward the ship, Central Command said it “cannot assess at this time” that the Carney was the target. There was no damage to the ship and no injuries to its crew.
At 12:35 p.m., the Carney responded to a distress call from the Unity Explorer, which reported that it had been hit by a missile fired by the Houthis. While assisting in assessing damage to the commercial vessel, the Carney detected a second drone and took it down.
At 3:30 p.m., the M/V Number 9, a Panama-flagged bulk carrier owned and operated by Bermuda and the United Kingdom, was subsequently hit by a missile fired by the Houthis while operating in the Red Sea.
An hour later, at 4:30 p.m., the M/V Sophie II, a Panama-flagged bulk carrier crewed by sailors from eight countries, sent a distress call saying it had been hit by a missile. While en route to respond, the Carney shot down another aerial drone heading in its direction.
Commercial shipping has come under increasing attack in the Red Sea since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas on October 7.
The Carney has shot down several Houthi-launched cruise missiles and drones targeting commercial ships in recent weeks. Although Defense Department officials do not believe the U.S. ship was the target of any of the attacks, the commander considered some of them a threat and acted in self-defense.