US warship shoots down drone, missile fired by Yemen’s Huthis

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An American warship shot down a drone and an anti-ship ballistic missile fired Thursday by Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels, the U.S. military said.

The Huthis have repeatedly targeted vessels in the vital Red Sea shipping lane with strikes they say are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel is battling militant group Hamas.

“The U.S.S Mason (DDG 87) shot down one drone and one anti-ship ballistic missile in the Southern Red Sea that were fired by the Huthis,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, referring to a guided-missile destroyer.

“There was no damage to any of the 18 ships in the area or reported injuries,” CENTCOM said, adding that it was the 22nd attempted attack on international shipping by the Huthis since mid-October.

The attacks are endangering a transit route that carries up to 12 percent of global trade, prompting the United States to set up a multinational naval task force earlier this month to protect Red Sea shipping.

The Huthis say they are targeting Israel and Israeli-linked vessels to push for a stop to the offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The latest round of the Israel-Hamas conflict began when the Palestinian militant group carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Following the attack, the United States rushed military aid to Israel, which has carried out a relentless campaign in Gaza that has killed at least 21,320 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Those deaths have sparked widespread anger in the Middle East and provided an impetus for attacks by armed groups across the region that are opposed to Israel.

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