Pentagon: Missiles target US warship
YEMEN – “Two missiles targeted a US warship off the coast of Yemen on Sunday but missed the vessel and hit the water instead”, a Pentagon spokesman said.
The missiles were fired at the USS Mason from Houthicontrolled territory in wartorn Yemen, Capt. Jeff Davis said, adding that the guidedmissile destroyer deployed onboard defensive measures and was undamaged.
But the Houthis, a minority Shia group that has taken control of much of Yemen, including the capital denied yesterday that its forces had targeted the warship. An official from the Houthicontrolled military said the reports were aimed at covering up a ‘heinous’ Saudiled coalition airstrike on a wake Saturday in the capital, Sana’a, that officials said killed at least 155 people, the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency reported.
The US warship was in international waters more than 12 nautical miles (22 km) offshore, in the southern end of the Red Sea, north of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, according to a defense official.
The missiles were launched within 60 minutes of each other, Davis said.
Washington has backed a Saudi-led coalition fighting to prevent Houthi rebels allied with Iran and forces loyal to Yemen’s deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking power in Yemen.
But on Saturday the US said it was reevaluating its support after the deadly wake airstrike.
The Saudi-led coalition had earlier denied accusations that it was responsible for the attack and said it would immediately investigate reports that its warplanes were behind the airstrikes, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi-led coalition, involving several Arab countries, began a military campaign in Yemen in March 2015 after Houthis drove out the US-backed government, led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and took over Sana’a. The crisis quickly escalated into a multisided war, which allowed al Qaeda and ISIS other enemies of the Houthis to grow stronger amid the chaos.
The conflict has killed an estimated 10,000 Yemenis and left millions in need of aid, according to the United Nations.
Since peace talks in Kuwait failed in August, the coalition has intensified airstrikes, despite vocal criticism from rights groups that the bombardments have been indiscriminate and could constitute war crimes. The attacks have often hit civilian targets with devastating results.
(CNN/ foto: media4.s-nbcnews.com)
Saudi Airstrike kills scoreson a wake in Sana’a, Yemen.