Houthi rebels in Yemen fired an anti-ship cruise missile toward a U.S. warship in the Red Sea on Sunday, but it was shot down by a U.S. fighter jet.
An anti-ship cruise missile was fired at about 4:45 p.m. local time on Sunday from Iranian-backed Houthi militant areas of Yemen toward USS Laboon, which was operating in the Southern Red Sea, according to U.S. Central Command. The U.S. said the missile came from near Hodeida, a Red Sea port city long held by the Houthis.
“The missile was shot down in (the) vicinity of the coast of Hudaydah by U.S. fighter aircraft. There were no injuries or damage reported,” CENTCOM said in a statement.
The attack by the Houthis is the first acknowledged by the U.S. since strikes on the rebels from the U.S. and allied nations began on Friday after weeks of assaults on shipping in the Red Sea.
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The Houthis have targeted the crucial corridor connecting Asian and Middle East energy and cargo shipments to the Suez Canal en route to Europe over the ongoing war between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists.
It was not immediately clear whether the U.S. would retaliate for the latest attack, but President Biden has said he “will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”
The first day of U.S.-led strikes on Friday hit 28 locations and more than 60 targets with cruise missiles and bombs launched by fighter jets, warships and a submarine. The locations hit included weapon depots, radars and command centers, according to the U.S.
U.S. forces then carried out another strike on Saturday on a Houthi radar site.
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Shipping through the Red Sea has slowed because of the attacks. The U.S. Navy warned American-flagged vessels on Friday to avoid areas around Yemen in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden for 72 hours after the initial airstrikes.
The Houthis claimed, without providing evidence, that the U.S. struck a location near Hodeida on Sunday around the same time as the cruise missile attack. The U.S. and the U.K. did not acknowledge conducting any strike, suggesting it may have been the result of a misfired Houthi missile.
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The Biden administration and U.S. allies have attempted to prevent any wider conflict as the Israel-Hamas war continues following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack against the Jewish State, but the attacks between the U.S. and the Houthis cause concern the conflict could expand.
Fox News’ Liz Friden and The Associated Press contributed to this report.