A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer operating off the coast in Yemen in the Red Sea came under fire on Sunday night local time by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, however both missiles that were fired did not hit the ship, the Pentagon said in a statement.
While conducting routine operations in international waters, the destroyer USS Mason detected two missiles headed for the ship. They were fired within a one hour period, Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman said.
“We assess the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen,” Davis said. “The United States remains committed to ensuring freedom of navigation everywhere in the world, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our ships and our service members.”
It was unclear how close the missiles were from hitting the USS Mason. At the time, the destroyer was operating north of the Bab el Mandeb Strait in the southern portion of the Red Sea.
“In the first instance USS Mason employed onboard defensive measures, although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway,” a defense official told Fox News.
A Houthi military official on Monday denied the attack against the destroyer, the Houthi-run news agency Saba reported.
The Houthi rebels are backed by Iran and they have a collection of Soviet-era rockets and missiles at their disposal.
Last week, several U.S. warships were sent to Yemen’s coast following a targeted attack by the Houthi’s on a United Arab Emirates ship.