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US warship shoots down drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen

By Haley Britzky, CNN

(CNN) — A US warship shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Wednesday in the southern Red Sea, a US military official said.

There was no damage to the USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, or injuries to any personnel in the incident, the official said. The drone was flying in the direction of the ship; as with other recent instances of drones being shot down, the official said it came close enough to the Mason that the commander of the ship felt it was a threat and needed to be shot down.

At least three Houthi drones that were shot down by the USS Carney on Sunday, during a series of attacks on three commercial vessels.

The US official added that the Mason’s shoot-down came after an attack on US and coalition forces on Tuesday evening, which involved a one-way attack drone launched against Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. There was also no infrastructure damage or injuries reported from the attack, which marked at least 77 against US and coalition forces since October 17, according to the official.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are a Shia political and military organization that have been fighting a civil war against a Saudi Arabia-backed coalition since 2014. The uptick in activity from the Houthis — as well as attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria by other Iran-backed groups — began after Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

The US has stopped short in most instances of saying the drones from Houthi areas in Yemen were targeting the various warships, saying only that they have been heading in their direction and considered enough of a threat that they needed to be engaged. But the Houthis have also made direct attacks on commercial vessels in recent weeks, including four attacks on three vessels on Sunday.

US Central Command said missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen struck the three vessels — the M/V Unity Explorer, M/V Number 9 and M/V Sophie II. Officials have since said that the US is in discussions with partners and allies about bolstering an existing Maritime Forces coalition of 38 countries in the region.

“It’s important to highlight that the Houthi strikes against commercial vessels in international waters underscore the fact that this is an international problem,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Tuesday. “All three of these ships were sailing in international waters, representing a variety of countries, in terms of where they were flagged and who they were crewed by.”

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