(Bloomberg) -- Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed they targeted “two Israeli ships” in the Red Sea, part of a series of attacks against commercial vessels in international waters on Sunday during which the US said one of its destroyers shot down three drones.
The USS Carney responded to distress calls from three ships over the course of the day while patrolling in the Red Sea, two of which matched the names of carriers the Yemen-based Houthis said they targeted, US Central Command said in a statement. No casualties were reported and while each drone was headed toward the Carney, it wasn’t clear that the warship was the target, according to Centcom.
The US military blamed the Houthis, “fully enabled by Iran,” for the attacks, saying they “represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security.”
“The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners,” Centcom said in the statement.
The attacks are the latest in a series against vessels since the rebels in Yemen issued a threat against ships with ties to Israel last month, calling them “legitimate targets.”
The Houthis said the Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer was struck by a missile and the Panama-flagged container ship Number 9 was hit by a naval drone. The ships had “ignored warning messages from the Yemeni naval forces,” according to the statement.
According to Centcom’s account, the Unity Explorer was struck by a missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, sustaining minor damage. Later, the Number 9 was struck by a missile from Houthi-controlled areas, reporting damage but no casualties.
An hour later, the Sophie II, a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, sent a distress signal saying it was struck by a missile, which the USS Carney reported as causing no significant damage. The US destroyer also shot down a UAV headed in its direction while en route to aid the Sophie II, Centcom said.
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United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, an arm of Britain’s Royal Navy, earlier said it received a report of a drone attack in the vicinity of the Bab el Mandeb Strait near Yemen.
Separately, on Saturday, US Central Command said on X, formerly Twitter, that a US military plane had intercepted an Iranian drone “operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner during aircraft carrier flight operations in the Arabian Gulf.”
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(Updates with details from Centcom statement in eighth paragraph.)
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