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Pentagon: US warship and multiple commercial ships come under attack in Red Sea

Pentagon: US warship and multiple commercial ships come under attack in Red Sea

An American warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack on Sunday in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said, potentially marking a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Mideast linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

“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.

The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

Earlier on Sunday, British maritime security agency United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) indicated that it had received a report concerning the activity of a drone, "including a potential explosion", "near Bab el Mandeb coming from the direction of Yemen".

The Pentagon did not identify where it believed the fire came from. However, Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been launching a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel as it wages war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the attack began about 10 a.m. local time in Sanaa, Yemen - and had been going on for as much as five hours.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis. However, a Houthi military spokesman earlier said an “important” statement would be released shortly.

Global shipping has increasingly been targeted as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to become a wider regional conflict - even as a truce has halted fighting and Hamas exchanges hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Earlier in November, 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.