A US destroyer shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday while responding to a distress call from a container ship that had been hit in a separate raid, the US military said.
The missiles were fired from territory controlled by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a social media post, calling it the Houthis' “23rd unlawful attack on international shipping” since November 19.
The Houthis have repeatedly targeted ships in the vital shipping lane in the Red Sea with strikes they say are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is fighting the Palestinian Hamas movement.
US Central Command said the USS Gravely and USS Laboon responded to a request for assistance from the Maersk Hangzhou, a Singapore-flagged container ship owned and operated by Denmark, which reported being hit by a missile while crossing the Red Sea.
She added that during the response, Gravely shot down missiles that were fired “towards the ships.”
Attacks by Yemeni rebels – who say they are targeting Israel and associated ships – are endangering a transit route that carries up to 12 percent of global trade, prompting the United States to form an earlier multinational maritime task force. This month to protect shipping in the Red Sea.
The latest round of conflict between Israel and Hamas began when the Palestinian movement carried out a surprise cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7, killing about 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an Agence France-Presse count based on Israeli figures.
In the wake of the attack, the United States rushed to provide military aid to Israel, which has carried out a relentless campaign in Gaza that has killed at least 21,672 people, most of them also civilians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.
These deaths sparked widespread outrage in the Middle East and provided an impetus for attacks by anti-Israel armed groups across the region.
US forces in Iraq and Syria have also repeatedly come under fire from drone and missile attacks that Washington says are carried out by Iranian-backed armed groups.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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