On Tuesday, officials at the Pentagon told Fox News that they believe the Iranian-backed suicide attack against a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen on Monday was actually meant to target the United States. The bombing, which killed two Saudi sailors and wounded three others, was first thought to be struck by a missile but new video analysis shows otherwise.
Two defense officials from the Pentagon confirmed to Fox News that American intelligence officials reviewed footage of the attack and surmised that the explosion was a result of a suicide bomber in a small boat that rammed the side of the Saudi warship. A voice narrating the obtained video can be heard yelling in Arabic: “Allahu akbar, death to America, death to Israel.”
The narrator can also be heard saying “a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.”
The rhetoric heard on the footage leads U.S. defense analysts to believe that the attack was either meant for a U.S. warship or it was what they’re calling a “dress rehearsal” for a future attack. The execution of Monday’s suicide bombing was similar to the USS Cole bombing in 2000 off the coast of Yemen which left 17 American sailors dead and another 39 injured.
The attack happened in the same area that U.S. Navy warships were targeted by Iranian-backed Houthi late last year. In October, the USS Nitze took out Houthi radar sites with Tomahawk missiles following attempted attacks against two U.S. Navy ships. The American warships were able to shoot down the incoming missiles to avoid any contact.