US Navy Shoots Down Another Drone Launched From Yemen in Red Sea

US Navy Shoots Down Another Drone Launched From Yemen in Red Sea
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, the USS Mason (DDG 87) conducts maneuvers as part of a exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Sept. 10, 2016. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Blake Midnight/U.S. Navy via AP)
Katabella Roberts

The United States intercepted another unmanned aerial vehicle allegedly launched from Yemen in the southern Red Sea on Dec. 6, according to officials.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense of the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the incident in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

The drone was shot down at about 10:20 a.m. local time over the southern Red Sea by the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, an Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer, the spokesperson said.

“We can confirm the USS Mason shot down an uncrewed aerial vehicle originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen at 10:20 a.m. (Yemen time) Dec. 6 in the southern Red Sea,” the official said.

There was no damage or injury to U.S. equipment or personnel.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have recently waded into the ongoing Israel–Hamas conflict, claiming to have launched ballistic missiles and one-way drones in the direction of Israel and attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes.

The latest incident comes after the U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement on Dec. 3 that Iran-backed Houthi rebels had launched multiple rocket attacks on commercial ships operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea.

The Red Sea is a key trade route for shipping and transferring energy supplies.

There were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in the waters connected to 14 separate nations, officials said.

The Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS Carney was conducting a patrol in the Red Sea and responded to the distress calls from the ships before providing assistance, successfully defending some of the rocket attacks.

‘A Direct Threat to International Commerce’

According to Central Command, the first incident took place at approximately 9:15 a.m. local time when an anti-ship ballistic missile was fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the M/V Unity Explorer , impacting “in the vicinity of the vessel.”

The commercial ship is a Bahamas-flagged, UK-owned and operated bulk cargo ship crewed by sailors from two nations, officials said.

Then at approximately noon local time, the USS Carney “engaged and shot down a UAV” launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.

That drone was headed toward the USS Carney, although its specific target isn’t clear, officials said.

“We cannot assess at this time whether the Carney was a target of the UAVs,” Central Command said.

No U.S. vessels or personnel were injured during that incident, according to officials.

Other attacks on commercial ships took place on the same day and involved missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen at UK-owned and operated ships, officials said.

In a separate incident later that day, the Unity Explorer was hit by a missile. While responding to its distress call, the Carney shot down another incoming drone. Central Command said the Unity Explorer sustained minor damage from that missile.

“These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security,” the U.S. military’s Central Command said. “They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world. We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.”

Iran on Dec. 5 denied any role in attacks or actions against U.S. forces.

Reuters contributed to this report.