A US Navy warship and several merchant vessels have come under attack in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A U.S. warship and several merchant vessels were attacked in the Red Sea Sunday, the Pentagon said, marking a major escalation in a series of naval attacks in the Middle East linked to the Israel-Hamas war. .

“We are aware of reports of attacks on the USS Carney and merchant vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available,” the Pentagon said.

Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The British military earlier said there were suspicious drone strikes and explosions in the Red Sea.

The latest in the Israel-Hamas war

The Pentagon does not believe where the fire originated. However, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been carrying out a series of attacks on ships in the Red Sea, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the attack began around 10 a.m. in Sana’a, Yemen, and lasted for five hours. Another US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said Carney intercepted at least one drone during the attack.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis. However, a Houthi military spokesman said earlier that an “important” statement would be released soon.

Global shipping has increasingly been targeted as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to escalate into a wider regional conflict. A truce briefly halted the fighting And Hamas exchanged hostages for Palestinian prisoners captured by Israel. However, the collapse of the cease-fire and the resumption of punishing Israeli airstrikes and its ground attacks raised the risk of a resumption of seaborne attacks.

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Earlier in November, the Houthis They impounded the vehicle transport vessel Yemen is connected to Israel on the Red Sea. Rebels still have the ship near the port city of Hodeidah. Missiles landed near another US warship last week after helping an Israeli-bound ship that was briefly seized by militants.

However, the Houthis have not directly targeted the Americans, further raising the stakes in the escalating maritime conflict. In 2016, the US launched Tomahawk cruise missiles Destroyed three coastal radar sites In response to missiles fired at US naval vessels at the time in Houthi-controlled territory.

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Associated Press writer Tara Cope contributed from Dallas.

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