US warship shoots down drone, missile fired by Yemen’s Huthi rebels

US warship shoots down drone, missile fired by Yemen’s Huthi rebels
US warship shoots down drone, missile fired by Yemen’s Huthi rebels

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - In this 2008 image released by the US Navy Visual News Service the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason steams through the Atlantic Ocean. An American warship shot down a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile fired Thursday by Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels, the US military said. — Picture by Katrina Parker/US Navy Visual News Service via AFP

WASHINGTON, Dec 29 — An American warship shot down a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile fired Thursday by Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels, the US military said.

The Huthis have repeatedly targeted vessels in the vital Red Sea shipping lane with strikes they say are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is battling militant group Hamas.

“The USS Mason (DDG 87) shot down one drone and one anti-ship ballistic missile in the Southern Red Sea that were fired by the Huthis,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, referring to a guided-missile destroyer.

“There was no damage to any of the 18 ships in the area or reported injuries,” CENTCOM said, adding that it was the 22nd attempted attack on international shipping by the Huthis since mid-October.

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The attacks are endangering a transit route that carries up to 12 per cent of global trade, prompting the United States to set up a multinational naval task force earlier this month to protect Red Sea shipping.

In addition to US military action, the Treasury Department unveiled sanctions yesterday against a network involved in financing Huthi attacks.

The Treasury said it had sanctioned the head of the Currency Exchangers Association in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, along with three exchanges in Yemen and Turkiye responsible for “facilitating the flow of Iranian financial assistance” to the Huthis.

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The Yemeni rebels say they are targeting Israel and Israeli-linked vessels to push for a stop to the offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The latest round of the Israel-Hamas conflict began when the Palestinian militant group carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Following the attack, the United States rushed military aid to Israel, which has carried out a relentless campaign in Gaza that has killed at least 21,320 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Those deaths have sparked widespread anger in the Middle East and provided an impetus for attacks by armed groups across the region that are opposed to Israel.

US forces in Iraq and Syria have also repeatedly come under fire from drone and rocket attacks that Washington says are being carried out by Iran-backed armed groups.

On Monday, a drone attack wounded three American personnel in northern Iraq, after which the US military struck three sites it said were used by Iran-backed forces in the country. — AFP

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