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US Navy Destroyer shoots down three missiles fired by Yemeni forces

The Pentagon said it was uncertain where the missiles were headed but could ‘potentially’ have been aimed at ‘targets in Israel’

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Thursday 19 October 2023 21:42 BST
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General Patrick S. Ryder speaks on US Navy Destroyer shooting down three Yemeni missiles

A US Naval Destroyer operating in the Red Sea has shot down three land-cruise missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon has said.

The Pentagon said it was uncertain where the missiles were headed but could “potentially” have been aimed at “targets in Israel”. The incident, involving the guided-missile destroyer the USS Carney, occurred on Thursday.

Several drones were also shot down, according to Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder.

“This action was a demonstration of the integrated air and missile defense architecture that we have built in the Middle East and that we are prepared to utilise whenever necessary to protect our partners and our interests in this important region,” Mr Ryder told a press conference.

“There were no casualties to US forces and none that we know of to any civilians on the ground.”

Mr Ryder said information about the incident was still being processed, but that the response was one that would have been taken “for any similar threat in the region”.

“This attack may be ongoing so if we have more information to share, we will,” he said.

A US official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, that it is not believed the missiles were aimed at the ship.

It comes amid ongoing concerns over the entry of Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah into the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas – which has seen the death of thousands of people on both sides thus far.

The Houthi rebels are part of a collective network of allied millitant groups opposed to Israel, coordinated by the Islamic Republic, known as “the resistance”.

Pentagon Ryder

Mr Ryder continued: “As the Secretary [of Defence] has made clear, we have the capability to defend our broader interests in the region and to deter regional escalation and broader expansion of the conflict that began with Hamas is attack on Israeli civilians on October 7.

“The crew of the Carney did just that and across the force, we will remain vigilant to any other potential threats.”

The Houthi rebels have previously expressed support for the Palestinians and threatened Israel. Last week, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the group’s leader, warned the US against intervening in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, threatening that his forces would retaliate by firing drones and missiles.

When approached by The Associated Press on Thursday, two Houthi officials declined to comment on the incident. One said he was unaware of the incident, while the second said he did not have the authority to speak about it.

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