The missiles were launched by Houthi militants in Yemen, an Iranian-backed group
A U.S. Navy destroyer intercepted several missiles fired near the coast of Yemen on Thursday, though it is unclear what the missiles were targeting, Pentagon officials said.
U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed Thursday that the crew of the USS Carney, a guided missile destroyer operating in the Northern Red Sea, shot down three land attack cruise missiles and several drones that were launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen.
“This action was a demonstration of the integrated air and missile defense architecture that we have built in the Middle East and that we are prepared to utilize whenever necessary to protect our partners and our interests in this important region,” Ryder said, adding there were no casualties to U.S. forces, nor any on the ground that he knows of. “Information on these engagements is still being processed, and we cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting.”
The missiles were launched from Yemen and were heading north along the Red Sea, “potentially” toward targets in Israel, Ryder said.
According to Ryder, the response was one the U.S. military would have taken for any similar threat in the region.
“This attack may be ongoing,” he said. “As [Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin] has made clear, we have the capability to defend our broader interests in the region.”
“The crew of the Carney did just that, and across the force we will remain vigilant to any other potential threat,” Ryder added.
The Department of Defense is in the process of bolstering forces in the Middle East to deter a wider conflict, but also bolster stability and defend national security interests.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Navy announced it would be sending the USS Mount Whitney to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as tensions in the Middle East rise amid the Israel-Hamas war.