By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
A U.S. warship operating in the Red Sea engaged a wave of suicide drones on Saturday launched from Yemen, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
The 14 one-way attack drones were assessed to have originated from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, CENTCOM said, but did not directly confirm whether the Iran-backed militia intended to target the U.S. destroyer. Sending a “drone wave” near U.S. warships would signal an escalation, as similar incidents in recent weeks have involved the U.S.S. Carney and other warships downing one or two drones threatening the vessels at a time.
“In the early morning hours of December 16 (Sanna time) the US Arliegh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS CARNEY (DDG 64), operating in the Red Sea, successfully engaged 14 unmanned aerial systems launched as a drone wave from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen,” the statement read.
No damage to the ship occurred and there were no injuries immediately reported, CENTCOM said. “Regional Red Sea partners were alerted to the threat.”
The Houthis have intensified drone and missile attacks on commercial ships in or near the Red Sea, saying they would threaten any vessel intending to deliver cargo to Israel or whose ownership is linked to Israelis. Many of the targeted ships have denied any connection to Israel.
The U.S.S. Carney is deployed to the 5th fleet area of operations to prevent an escalation of hostilities throughout the Middle East, according to a statement from CENTCOM.
CENTCOM commander Gen. Erik Kurilla had just visited the Carney on Dec. 11 to obtain a better picture of what is taking place in the region.
Overnight Friday, a British warship also engaged a suspected one-way attack drone targeting merchant shipping, the U.K. defense minister said.
On Friday, the Houthis demanded the Liberian-flagged Motor Vessel MSC Alanya to divert course, but the vessel continued on its northward path while maintaining communications with U.S. forces and is believed to be traveling safely, CENTCOM said. Then, the Houthis struck the Liberian-flagged Motor Vessel Al Jasrah as it was heading southward, causing a fire on board.
In yet another Friday incident, Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at shipping lanes in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, and one of the missiles hit the Liberian-flagged MV Palatium 3, CENTCOM said. The destroyer U.S.S. Mason responded to the Palatium’s distress call.
“The other missile likely missed any ships. No injuries have been reported by any of the three ships attacked, but this latest round of attacks is yet another demonstration of the great risk to international shipping caused by these Houthi actions,” the statement read.
Several international shipping companies have shut down or restricted transit through the Red Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported. CMA CGM Group followed suit on Saturday, ordering container ships scheduled to transit the Red Sea to pause their journeys in safe waters.
“The situation is further deteriorating and concern of safety is increasing,” the group said in a statement.
The Pentagon maintains that escalation in hostile actions against commercial shipping in the Red Sea are not driven by the Israel-Hamas war.