RIYADH, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The Pentagon said it was aware of reports of attacks on a U.S. warship and merchant ships in the Red Sea on Sunday, after Yemen’s Houthi group said it carried out drone and missile attacks on two Israeli ships in the area.
“We are aware of reports of attacks on the USS Carney and merchant vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available,” the Pentagon said.
Yemen’s Houthi movement said its navy attacked two Israeli ships, the Unity Explorer and Number Nine, with an armed drone and a naval missile.
A spokesman for the group’s military said the two ships were targeted only after they ignored warnings.
The spokesman said in a broadcast statement that the attacks were carried out in response to the demands of the Yemeni people and calls from Islamic countries to stand with the Palestinian people.
An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reported incident follows a series of attacks in the Middle East since the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.
Iran’s allies, the Houthis, seized a cargo ship linked to Israel last month. The group, which controls much of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, has previously launched ballistic missiles and armed drones at Israel and has vowed to target more Israeli ships.
ABC News, citing a U.S. official, said the USS Carney was involved in several engagements that included Houthi attacks on merchant ships.
“In at least two situations, Carney was successfully shot down by (drones) headed in its direction,” the official told ABC.
British maritime security firm Ambre previously said a bulk carrier and a container ship were hit by at least two drones while sailing in the Red Sea.
Ambre said the drone strike damaged the container ship 63 miles northwest of the northern Yemeni port of Hodeidah.
Britain’s Maritime Trade Operations Organization (UKMTO) said the drone strike was carried out in the Bab al-Mandab Strait of the Red Sea.
Last week a US Navy warship responded to a distress call from an Israeli-operated commercial tanker in the Gulf of Aden after it was seized by armed men.
Reporting by Ahmed Elimam, Hadem Maher, Rami Ayyub and Jonathan Saul; By Aziz El Yacoubi; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Holmes
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