Yemen’s Houthi movement says it has targeted two Israeli ships with an armed drone and a naval missile, reports a spokesperson for the group’s military.
The spokesperson said the two ships, Unity Explorer and Number Nine, were targeted after they rejected warnings from the group’s navy, the Reuters news agency reported on Sunday.
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British maritime security company Ambrey said a bulk carrier ship had been hit by at least two drones while sailing in the Red Sea. Another container ship reportedly suffered damage from a drone attack about 101km (63 miles) northwest of the northern Yemeni port of Hodeida, it added.
The Pentagon also said a US warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack in the Red Sea, potentially marking a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7.
“We are 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.
The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The Pentagon did not identify where it believed the fire came from.
The Houthi rebels have been launching drones and missiles targeting Israel as it bombs Gaza.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, told the Associated Press the attack began at about 10am in Sanaa, Yemen (07:00 GMT), and went on for about five hours.
Last month, the Houthis seized a vehicle transport ship also linked to Israel in the Red Sea off Yemen. The rebels still hold the vessel near the port city of Hodeida.
Missiles also landed near another US warship last week after it assisted a vessel linked to Israel that had briefly been seized by gunmen.
However, the Houthis had not directly targeted the Americans for some time, further raising the stakes in the growing maritime conflict.
In 2016, the US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory to retaliate for missiles being fired at US Navy ships, including the USS Mason, at the time.