~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired two missiles at a U.S. Navy destroyer operating off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea on Sunday -- though neither missile hit the ship, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Though the American warship wasn't struck, the ship was definitely targeted, a U.S. defense official told Fox News. This dramatic escalation comes a week after the U.S. Navy sent warships to the area when a United Arab Emirates flagged auxiliary ship was destroyed off the coast of Yemen by the Houthis.
"We assess the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen," Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said. "The United States remains committed to ensuring freedom of navigation everywhere in the world, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our ships and our servicemembers."
It was not immediately clear how close the missiles came to the destroyer.
"In the first instance USS Mason employed onboard defensive measures, although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway," a defense official told Fox News.
Officials said the American ship was conducting routine operations in international waters when the missiles were fired, but didn't provide an exact location.
"Beyond that, the incident is under investigation, and we hope to have more details for you in the coming days," the defense official said. "We take this very seriously. We will protect our people."
The White House condemned the missile firings, a senior administration official told Fox News.
U.S. officials have long accused Iran of supplying missiles and other weapons to the Houthis.
The U.S. supports a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's civil war, which began in 2015. The U.S. embassy was closed in Yemen over a year ago.
Fox News first reported last week that U.S. warships were sent to Yemen's coast after a United Arab Emirates ship was recently targeted by the Houthis. That ship used to be owned by a U.S. company, but was contracted to UAE at the time.
Yemen's Shiite rebels 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.
The Obama strategy in the Middle East is to commit our forces piecemeal so they have different missions, different areas of operation, different supporting ethnic populations, and different demands on the logistics and intelligence support for their operations. It concerns me that large numbers of our special operators are committed without visible support from front-line combat units. This can only lead to attrition of our very best and a growing understanding that to be special operations is to die in the service of your country.
My heart breaks for our military under Obama!
So, why haven't we bombed the crap out of Yemen? Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we don't hurt our enemies anymore, it might hurt their feelings....pitiful....Duke
Holy cow, Duke! We actually DID something in response.
Obama is trying to protect his legacy as a "leader" and defender of America. Excuse me while I call RAAAAALLLLLPH!
He is a paper tiger! Notice they only took out their radar batteries and not any of the fighters.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen may have launched missiles at U.S. Navy ships for the third time this week, defense officials said Saturday.
Initially, a U.S. defense official said multiple missiles were fired at three ships patrolling international waters at around 3:30 p.m. ET. U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson appeared to confirm that assesment, telling reporters the vessels seemed "to have come under attack in the Red Sea, again from coastal defense cruise missiles fired from the coast of Yemen."
However, a Pentagon official later said only that the vessels "detected possible inbound missile threats and deployed appropriate defensive measures."
The official added that all U.S. warships and vessels in the area were safe and that "post-event assessment is ongoing," but declined to give further details.
Two guided-missile destroyers, the USS Mason and USS Nitze, as well as the amphibious transport ship USS Ponce were patrolling north of the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, when the incident occurred.
The USS Mason launched countermeasures, according to one official, likely using SM-2 surface-to-air missiles to engage the possible Houthi cruise missiles.
The incident occurred two days after President Obama authorized a Tomahawk cruise missile strike against three Houthi radar facilities in Yemen in retaliation for two missile attacks against the US Navy ships earlier in the week.
A U.S. official told the Associated Press that additional radars could have been used in Saturday's reported attack.