American warship USS Mason may have been targeted by rebel-controlled Yemen. A couple of missiles landed close to the U.S. Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer while it was on a patrolling mission in the Red Sea.
Two missiles that may have been intended for USS Mason were fired from within the rebel-controlled region of Yemen. The missiles landed near the American warship which has been deployed in the Red Sea. Confirming the incident, U.S. Navy added that the missiles didn’t cause any damage, and there were no casualties. Both the missiles hit water before reaching the guided-missile destroyer. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokeswoman Paula Dunn issued a statement that said.
“USS Mason had been conducting routine operations in international waters north of the strait when it detected two inbound missiles around 19:00 (16:00 GMT) on Sunday.
“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship. There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship. We assess these missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory.”
While still to be corroborated, the attack is suspected to be the handiwork of rebels. It appears the missiles were part of an intentional attack, perhaps as retaliation towards a Saudi-led airstrike targeting a funeral in Yemen’s capital. Interestingly, a spokesman for Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement has denied targeting any warships, reported Saba. The Houthi military spokesman added that the charge was “baseless and aimed to cover for the heinous Saudi crime of Saturday’s air attacks on the civilian funeral hall in the capital Sanaa.” The attack on the funeral resulted in the death of 140 people and injured more than 500.
Additionally, the incident happened merely a week after an attack on an Emirati civilian ship. The UAE government categorically noted that the civilian ship, a high-speed catamaran, was being used for a humanitarian mission. The targeted vessel was merely ferrying aid, but was still attacked in the Bab al-Mandab strait, added the Saudi government. The attack left several Yemenis and passengers wounded.
USS Mason is an Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyer whose home port is Norfolk, Virginia. Lt. Ian McConnaughey. The Navy added that the destroyer’s onboard defensive measures were used, but did not elaborate what they were or if the measures were the reason that caused the missiles to splash harmlessly in the sea. At the time of the incident, USS Mason was cruising just north of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The sea route is critical for oil transportation. A large number of oil tankers frequently rely on the sea route that passes through the Suez Canal to head towards Europe.
While the Houthis have denied launching the missiles, it is highly unlikely the Saudi-led multinational coalition, whose air campaign against the Houthis and their allies is supported by the U.S, could be behind the failed attack.
The Saudi-led coalition issued a statement that denied any responsibility. The coalition added that it had successfully intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis at the King Fahd Air Base in Taif in central Saudi Arabia, reported the BBC. The base is critical for all the airborne activities of the coalition and currently hosts a large number of U.S. military personnel. Special military units flown into the region and housed at the base have been training the kingdom’s armed forces in military tactics and advanced combat.
The ongoing war in Yemen is significantly dwarfed and overshadowed by the armed conflict against the ISIS or Islamic state, which is being led by the United States in Syria. The conflict in Yemen began a little more than a year ago, but has so far killed more than 1,400 civilians and injured more than 7,000. However, the ISIS has been primary reason behind the death of at least 9,000 people, and caused the displacement of more than 3 million.
[Featured Image by U.S. Navy/Getty Images]