US Warship and Other Commercial Ships Attacked

( – Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked three commercial ships and a US missile destroyer in the Red Sea. A British-owned ship was set on fire by the missile attacks. The Houthis, backed by Iran, have become increasingly aggressive since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

On December 3, three ships — bulk carriers Unity Explorer and Sophie II, and container ship Number 9 — were attacked in the northern Red Sea by anti-ship missiles launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer on patrol in the area, tracked one ballistic missile fired from Yemen that landed near Unity Explorer.

Not long after that, a drone approached Carney, which shot it down. Around 30 minutes later, another missile was fired at Unity Explorer and hit it, leaving the ship on fire. As the destroyer responded to the freighter’s distress call another drone approached; Carney shot that down, too.

The Iranian-backed Houthi movement is an extreme Islamist terror group backed by Iran, and since 2004 it’s been fighting an insurgency against the Yemeni government, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Since Hamas, which is also backed by Iran, attacked Israel on October 7 the Houthis have fired missiles at Israel and begun attacking ships in the vital Red Sea shipping lanes, in an apparent attempt to expand the conflict.

There’s no doubt the Houthis were behind Sunday’s missile attacks. The group had admitted hitting two of the victims, which it described as “Israeli ships.” Unity Explorer is British-owned and Bahamas-registered; Number 9 and Sophie II are both Panama-registered and owned by the British and Bermudan companies. None of them are Israeli.

Of course, that doesn’t matter to the Houthis or Iran; it’s likely they just want to increase global tension, in the hope nervous Western governments will pressure Israel to stop destroying Hamas. US warships in the Red Sea will probably face more Houthi drone and missile attacks.

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