US Navy destroyer faces possible third attack off Yemen
The USS Mason, a Navy destroyer sailing in international waters off of Yemen's coast, was possibly targeted for a third time since last weekend. "The Mason once again appears to have come under attack in the Red Sea, again from coastal defense cruise missiles fired from the coast of Yemen," Navy Admiral John Richardson said in Baltimore on Saturday, according to NBC News.
Reports, however, said it was unclear exactly what happened. Some also suggested that the USS Mason, which was sailing near the USS Ponce and the USS Nitze, may not have been specifically targeted. A group of warships "had indications of a possible inbound missile threat and deployed appropriate defensive measures" on Saturday night, said Capt. Paula Dunn, a spokeswoman for U.S. Navy Forces Central Command. She said the ships and sailors onboard were safe, the Associated Press reported.
The incident follows a recent series of events involving U.S. warships near Yemen. In a statement on Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said that for the second time since last Sunday, the USS Mason had responded to a missile threat. The missile originated from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, he said. "Those who threaten our forces should know that U.S. commanders retain the right to defend their ships, and we will respond to this threat at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner," he said.
More on the USS Mason
Cook said in a second statement the same day that the U.S. military hit three radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory in response to the threats. "The strikes — authorized by President Obama at the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford — targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb," the statement said.
Houthi rebels denied they were behind Sunday's and Wednesday's incidents involving missiles, and didn't immediately comment on Saturday's event, the AP reported. The latest incident threatens to further escalate tensions and provoke additional U.S. military response, Reuters reports.
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