Mis­siles fired from rebel-held lands in Ye­men

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Two mis­siles fired from rebel-held ter­ri­tory in Ye­men landed near an Amer­i­can de­stroyer pass­ing by in the Red Sea, the US Navy, the se­cond such launch tar­get­ing ships in the cru­cial in­ter­na­tional wa­ter­way in re­cent days.

The mis­sile launches on Sun­day came as a bal­lis­tic mis­sile fired from Ye­men ap­par­ently tar­geted a Saudi air base near Mecca, the deep­est strike yet into the king­dom by Shia Houthi rebels and their al­lies.

The Houthis and their al­lies of­fered no rea­son for the launches, though they came after a Saudi-led airstrike tar­get­ing a fu­neral in Ye­men's cap­i­tal killed more than 140 peo­ple and wounded 525 on Satur­day.

In a state­ment, the US Navy said no dam­age was done to the USS Ma­son, an Ar­leigh Burke class of guided mis­sile de­stroyer.

Lt. Ian McCon­naughey, a spokesman for US Navy Forces Cen­tral Com­mand, said it’s un­clear if the USS Ma­son was specif­i­cally tar­geted, though the mis­siles were fired in its di­rec­tion over an hour’s time pe­riod, start­ing at around 7pm.

An Amer­i­can de­fence of­fi­cial said the USS Ma­son used on­board de­fen­sive mea­sures after the first mis­sile was fired, but it wasn’t clear if that caused the mis­sile to splash harm­lessly into the sea. The de­stroyer at the time of the mis­sile fire was north of the Bab el-Man­deb Strait, which serves as a gate­way for oil tankers headed to Europe through the Suez Canal, the of­fi­cial said.

Last week, a UAE-leased Swift boat came un­der rocket fire near the same area and sus­tained se­ri­ous dam­age. The UAE de­scribed the ves­sel as car­ry­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and hav­ing a crew of civil­ians, while the Houthis called the boat a war­ship.

US Navy of­fi­cials de­clined to im­me­di­ately dis­cuss what kind of rock­ets were used in the USS Ma­son in­ci­dent.

An­a­lysts with the Wash­ing­ton In­sti­tute for Near East Pol­icy sug­gested in a report that the Houthis may have tar­geted the UAE ship with an Ira­nian an­ti­ship­ping cruise mis­sile, based on pur­ported video of the at­tack.

Shia power Iran has sup­ported the Houthis, but de­nied sup­ply­ing them with weapons.

Any Ira­nian in­volve­ment could stoke ten­sion be­tween the Is­lamic Repub­lic and the US, which al­ready have had a se­ries of tense naval en­coun­ters since the nu­clear deal with world pow­ers.

Mean­while, Saudi state tele­vi­sion aired a brief clip of what ap­peared to be a pro­jec­tile that was said to have landed in Taif in the bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tack. The video shows the flash of an ex­plo­sion, fol­lowed by im­ages of emer­gency ve­hi­cles. Taif is home to Saudi Ara­bia’s King Fahd Air Base, which hosts US mil­i­tary per­son­nel train­ing the king­dom’s armed forces.

The Saudi mil­i­tary said the mis­sile fired late on Satur­day night was in­ter­cepted and caused no dam­age. The US mil­i­tary’s Cen­tral Com­mand, which over­sees troops in the Mid­dle East, did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Al Masirah, a satel­lite news chan­nel run by the Houthis, iden­ti­fied the mis­sile as a lo­cal vari­ant of a Soviet-era Scud mis­sile. It said the Vol­cano-1 mis­sile tar­geted the air base.

NO DAM­AGE: US de­stroyer USS Ma­son

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