An American warship and multiple commercial ships were attacked in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Pentagon. This could represent an escalation in the Israel-Hamas war and related conflicts, such as the repeated bombing of US bases in the Middle East by Iranian-backed militant groups that have occurred since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

“We’re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available,” the Pentagon said.

There had been suspected drone attack and explosions in Red Sea earlier on Sunday, according to the British military. No further information was provided.

An anonymous US Official told the Associated Press that the Sunday attack began around 10:00 AM in Sanaa, Yemen, and lasted for up to five hours. Another anonymous official said the USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, had intercepted at least one drone.

Earlier today, a Houthi military spokesman said that an “important” statement will be released soon. As of 12 noon ET, the Houthis have not commented on the event.

An American warship and multiple commercial ships were attacked in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Pentagon.
This Nov. 12, 2018 photo shows The USS Carney in the Mediterranean Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/U.S. Navy via AP)

As the Associated Press reported, there have been multiple recent recorded attacks on vessels in the Red Sea carried out by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. These same groups have been launching drone and missile attacks on Israel since the outbreak of the war on Oct. 7.

As Valuetainment reported in November, Houthi militants from Yemen boarded and hijacked a cargo ship in the Red Sea.

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With the uptick in rebel attacks on commercial shipping vessels, a potential global shipping disaster is looming due to the fact that the clogged Panama Canal has caused many ships to reroute to the Suez, forcing them to sail through Yemeni waters.

UPDATE (5:49 PM): The Pentagon later released an update on the attack, confirming that it was carried out by Houthi rebels. “Today, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea,” the statement began:

These three vessels are connected to 14 separate nations. The Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS CARNEY responded to the distress calls from the ships and provided assistance.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. Sanaa time, the CARNEY detected an anti-ship ballistic missile attack fired from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen toward the M/V UNITY EXPLORER, impacting in the vicinity of the vessel. UNITY EXPLORER is a Bahamas flagged, U.K. owned and operated, bulk cargo ship crewed by sailors from two nations. The CARNEY was conducting a patrol in the Red Sea and detected the attack on the UNITY EXPLORER.

At approximately 12 p.m., and while in international waters, CARNEY engaged and shot down a UAV launched from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen. The drone was headed toward CARNEY although its specific target is not clear. We cannot assess at this time whether the Carney was a target of the UAVs. There was no damage to the U.S. vessel or injuries to personnel.

In a separate attack at approximately 12:35 p.m., UNITY EXPLORER reported they were struck by a missile fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen. CARNEY responded to the distress call. While assisting with the damage assessment, CARNEY detected another inbound UAV, destroying the drone with no damage or injuries on the CARNEY or UNITY EXPLORER. UNITY EXPLORER reports minor damage from the missile strike.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. the M/V NUMBER 9 was struck by a missile fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen while operating international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The Panamanian flagged, Bermuda and U.K. owned and operated, bulk carrier reported damage and no casualties.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the M/V SOPHIE II, sent a distress call stating they were struck by a missile. CARNEY again responded to the distress call and reported no significant damage. While en route to render support, CARNEY shot down a UAV headed in its direction. SOPHIE II is a Panamanian flagged bulk carrier, crewed by sailors from eight countries.

These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world. We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran. The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners.

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