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Yemen’s Houthi rebels fire a missile toward US warship. The projectile was shot down

The American statement again took pains to avoid saying the Houthis directly targeted the ship. That’s likely aimed at trying to not have the Red Sea crisis grow larger

People supporting the Houthis hold a mockup rocket as they attend a rally against the U.S.-led strikes on Houthi targets and continued Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen January 26, 2024.
People supporting the Houthis hold a mockup rocket as they attend a rally against the U.S.-led strikes on Houthi targets and continued Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Sanaa, Yemen January 26, 2024.KHALED ABDULLAH (REUTERS)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched a missile Friday toward a U.S. warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden, forcing it to shoot down the projectile, officials said.

The attack marks the latest by the rebels in their campaign against ships traveling through the Red Sea and surrounding waters, which has disrupted global trade amid Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

An anti-ship ballistic missile came near the USS Carney, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer that’s been involved in American operations to try and stop the Houthi campaign since November, the U.S. military’s Central Command said.

“The missile was successfully shot down by USS Carney,” the statement said. “There were no injuries or damage reported.”

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels did not immediately acknowledge the attack, though they typically take several hours afterward to claim their assaults.

The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Operations, which oversees Mideast waterways, earlier reported the attack as happening southwest of Yemen’s port city of Aden.

The American statement again took pains to avoid saying the Houthis directly targeted the Carney, something that Washington has been doing since the attacks began in November. That’s likely aimed at trying to not have the Red Sea crisis grow larger as experts worry about the Israel-Hamas war morphing into a wider conflict.

However, the U.S. and Britain have launched multiple rounds of airstrikes in the time since targeting Houthi missile depots and launcher sites in Yemen, a country that’s been wracked by conflict since the rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

Since November, the rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea, saying they were avenging Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. But they have frequently targeted vessels with tenuous or no clear links to Israel, imperiling shipping in a key route for global trade between Asia, the Mideast and Europe.

Since the airstrike campaign began, the rebels now say they’ll target American and British ships as well. On Wednesday, two American-flagged ships carrying cargo for the U.S. Defense and State departments came under attack by the Houthis, forcing an escorting U.S. Navy warship to shoot some of the projectiles down.

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