Secretary of Defense Ash Carter pledged Monday that American warships would remain off the coast of Yemen, although they were fired at by two missiles from rebel-controlled territory.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis promised swift retaliation.
“We’re going to find out who did it and take action accordingly,” Davis said. “Anybody who puts U.S. Navy ships at risk does so at their own peril.”
The USS Mason came under fire Sunday from Shiite Houthi-controlled territory while in the Red Sea, though it’s unclear who exactly fired the missiles, as Yemen is also full of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, otherwise known as AQAP, The Washington Times reports.
Luckily for the USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the missiles didn’t reach their intended target.
“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship. There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said, according to Reuters.
While the USS Mason did employ defensive measures, it’s not clear if those measures were responsible for the missiles hitting the water. Although the origins of the attack aren’t currently known, the Pentagon is dedicated to tracking the attackers down.
Right now, the war in Yemen is essentially Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels vs. U.S.-backed Saudi forces, with the Saudis backing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the rebels former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Iran has so far denied actually providing the Houthis with arms, as doing so would result in further deteriorating relations between Iran and the U.S.
The U.S. has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March 2015, but given the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, little attention has been paid to the situation in Yemen, with the exception of certain notable attacks.
For example, the U.S. recently chastised Saudi Arabia for bombing a funeral hall Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of 140 and injuring 600.
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