Houthis Fire two Ballistic Missile near US Warship
Two ballistic missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen towards the USS Mason, a destroyer of the Arleigh-Burke class, as reported by U.S. Central Command on Sunday night. The missiles landed approximately 11 miles from the ship in the Gulf of Aden, causing no injuries or damage. In response to a distress call from the commercial ship M/V Central Park, the USS Mason, part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, intervened. After arriving, coalition forces demanded the release of the vessel. Subsequently, five armed individuals disembarked from the ship, attempting to escape in a small boat. The USS Mason pursued, leading to the eventual surrender of the attackers.
The M/V Central Park, described as a tanker carrying phosphoric acid with an international crew of 22, was confirmed to be safe by CENTCOM. The missiles were fired early Monday morning local time as the USS Mason was completing its response to the distress call.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa, provided no comment on the incident. However, Yemen’s internationally recognized government, based in Aden, accused the rebels of the attack, denouncing it as an act of maritime piracy with the support of the Iranian regime.
The attack occurred in a part of the Gulf of Aden theoretically under the control of the Yemeni government’s forces, distant from Houthi-controlled territory. Zodiac Maritime has previously been targeted in the ongoing shadow war between Iran and Israel. The UK Maritime Trade Operations issued a warning about suspicious craft in the area, and the Central Park’s location was reported over 35 miles south of Yemen’s coast in the Gulf of Aden.
The incident with the Central Park follows an attack on another Israeli-owned ship, the CMA CGM Symi, in the Indian Ocean. The Symi and the Central Park had both turned off their Automatic Identification System trackers, raising concerns about potential threats. Global shipping has become a target amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, with recent incidents involving Houthi seizures and attacks on vessels. Analysts suggest that such attacks serve to support Iran and strengthen the Houthis’ position in Yemen.