Two missiles fired from the Yemeni shore targeted a US Navy guided missile destroyer, a Pentagon spokesman has said. The rockets, which failed to hit the ship, allegedly came from territory controlled by Houthi rebels.
“USS Mason detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period while in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,” Reuters quoted Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis as saying.
Duff told Reuters that there were “no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.” He reportedly said the failed attack originated in an area controlled by Houthi rebels, who are being targeted in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. The Saudis have been supporting the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was ousted in a Houthi rebellion in November 2014.
The reported attack comes a day after the White House announced an “immediate” review of US support for the Saudi-led coalition, after a funeral hall bombing in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, left over 150 people dead on Saturday.
On Monday, the Houthi movement denied its involvement in the attack on the US Navy destroyer.
“[The Houthi movement] denies targeting any ship off Yemeni waters,” an official from the group told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday expressed Washington’s “deep concern” about the bombing, and welcomed Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s “commitment to launch a thorough and immediate investigation of the strike, and urged him to take urgent steps to ensure such an incident does not happen again,” according to a US statement.
Kerry also “reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the Deputy Crown Prince stated his desire to institute a renewable 72-hour cessation as soon as possible, provided the Houthis will agree.”
Kerry added he still supports Riyadh’s demand for Houthis to “pull back weapons from Saudi Arabia’s border and respect its territorial integrity,” saying he appreciates Riyadh’s “support” for a start of the UN-led negotiations with the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni leader who allied himself with the rebels.
The Saturday attack on the funeral hall in Sanaa prompted tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets of the Yemeni capital, with many upset at the inaction of the international community when it comes to the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen.
The US, along with other Western nations including the UK and France, has been contributing both intelligence and weapons to the Saudi campaign in Yemen.
Washington has offered Riyadh $115 billion worth of arms during Barack Obama’s two terms as president, according to the Center for International Policy, an anti-war think-tank.
The latest deal between the US and Saudi Arabia included 153 Abrams tanks and other military equipment which is worth an estimated $1.15 billion and was approved by the White House in August.