Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen attempted to missile attack a U.S. Navy destroyer on Wednesday, though the attack evidently failed to follow through. This is the second incident to occur in a matter of four days.
The incident occurred north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and the U.S. destroyer, the USS Mason, fired defensive salvos in response to the missiles that missed the ship. These two separate in less than a week could instigate a first direct U.S. military action against Houthis in the Yemeni conflict. Questions are now arising about the overall safety of passage for U.S. military ships around the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
U.S. officials, who are choosing to remain in anonymity, are investigating the possibility that a sieged radar station under Houthi control in Yemen might have “pinged” the USS Mason, as well as other U.S. ships. If this is true, then this is something that would have helped the Houthi fighters pass along coordinates for a strike on U.S. targets.
The defense cruise missiles used against the USS Mason had considerable and expansive range. This further adds concern about the kind of heavy weaponry the Houthis are capable of employing. U.S. officials are now conducting an investigation into Iran, believing they are the primary weapon suppliers to the Houthi rebels.
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