In the Red Sea on Sunday, an American warship and several commercial vessels came under attack, prompting the warship to respond in self-defense. The Associated Press (AP) was the first to report this incident, and it was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. This event adds to the ongoing tension in the Middle East, which has been connected to the Israel-Hamas conflict that has been ongoing for nearly two months.
The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, engaged in self-defense by opening fire during the attack, which lasted for several hours. The response from the USS Carney came after a Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier reported being under missile fire. During the attack, the Carney successfully shot down two drones, as reported by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
At this time, CENTCOM cannot confirm whether the USS Carney was a specific target for the drone attack. Fortunately, there were no reported damages to the Carney or injuries to personnel. However, the Unity Explorer, a commercial vessel, did sustain minor damage from the missile strike, according to CENTCOM.
CENTCOM has characterized these attacks as a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security, putting the lives of international crews from various countries at risk. They have also expressed the belief that these attacks were fully enabled by Iran.
In response to these incidents, the United States, in coordination with its international allies and partners, is considering all appropriate responses. Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for the attacks but did not mention the involvement of a U.S. warship in the assault. Saree stated that they would continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden until Israeli actions against Gaza cease.
Notably, this is not the first time U.S. warships have encountered drone threats in the Red Sea in recent months, with tensions in the Middle East rising since the October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel. The U.S. military has increased the presence of Navy ships in the Middle East in response to escalating tensions.