World

Yemen's Houthi rebels acknowledge attacking a US destroyer that shot down missile in the Red Sea

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — (AP) — Yemen's Houthi rebels on Wednesday claimed targeting a U.S. Navy destroyer and a commercial ship in the Red Sea. However, the attack on the warship apparently happened nearly two days earlier and saw the vessel intercept the missile targeting it.

The latest statement from the Houthis comes as their attacks on shipping, which have disrupted trade through a vital corridor leading onto the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, have slowed in recent weeks. Though the rebels have not acknowledged the slowdown, the U.S. military has suggested its airstrikes and interceptions of Houthi fire have disrupted their assaults and chewed into their weapon stockpiles.

Recently, the Houthis have been claiming days-old attacks.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said the rebels targeted the USS Mason with missiles and launched an attack on a ship he identified as the Destiny. Multiple vessels have that name in shipping registries.

The Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, has been in the Red Sea and the wider region as part of a U.S.-led coalition trying to prevent Houthi attacks on shipping. On Monday night, the Mason “successfully engaged and destroyed one inbound anti-ship ballistic missile launched by (the) Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen over the Red Sea,” the U.S. military's Central Command said.

The U.S. Navy's Mideast-based 5th Fleet did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the claimed attack on the Destiny.

The Houthis say their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its war against Hamas in Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians there, according to local health officials. The war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration. Shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has declined because of the threat.

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