This Sunday a destroyer belonging to the United States Navy came under fire. The guided-missile destroyer was in the coastal areas belonging to Yemen. At the moment, the region is controlled by Houthi rebels. As the destroyer was in international waters near Yemen, two missiles were launched towards the ship. The missiles did not successfully hit the ship. They fell into the sea in the vicinity of the guide-missile destroyer. However, the Pentagon wanted to make a note of the incident.
A First for the United States Navy in the Area
Yemen’s civil war started in 2014. So far, no American vessel has been under fire since the beginning of the conflict. It is the first time that the Houthis have fired on an American ship. So it is an unprecedented episode.
The attack happened just one day from troubling events in Yemen, On the day of a funeral in Sana, the capital city of Yemen, there were airstrikes. Sadly, the airstrikes led to over 100 people dying. The United States reacted to the event by saying that they will review their position in Yemen. Currently, the US is supporting a coalition that is fighting the rebels. After the airstrikes in Sana, the United States had to take their position regarding Yemen under consideration.
On Sunday evening, the US destroyer Mason was conducting routine operations. The ship was in international waters, not in the territorial waters of Yemen. The ship detected two missiles during the period of one hour. The missiles were aimed and fired at the ship but did not hit it.
Captain Jeff Davis is a spokesman for the Pentagon. He said that the incident didn’t have any consequences. The missiles fell in the water, at some distance from the ship. They did not cause any damage or injuries.
“We assess the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen”
Captain Davis said in a briefing.
At the time that the missiles were fired, the US destroyer Mason was in the southern part of the Red Sea, north of the strait Bab El Mandeb.
The Situation in Yemen
The conflict in Yemen has been going on for more than two years. It is a conflict that is as dangerous and complex as the situation in Syria. The conflict is difficult and complex due to religious issues and neighboring countries that want to play a role in the outcome.
Since March 2015 an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting the Shiite rebels. The United States has provided some logistic support to the coalition. The US has helped with refueling planes. Also, it has provided some intelligence. But there is no direct involvement with the conflict.
Among the supporters of the Houthi rebels is Iran. The country backs the Shiite faction in the conflict and have been supporting them from the beginning. There is information that the Houthi rebels have a stockpile of weapons that makes them a credible threat. The stockpile consists of various rockets and missiles from the Soviet era. If the rebels were to decide to use them, the weapons could cause significant damage.
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