Yemen's Houthis deny targeting US naval vessel

USS Mason came under fire off Yemen's Red Sea coast, US officials confirm

Yemen's Houthis deny targeting US naval vessel

World Bulletin / News Desk

Yemen’s Houthis on Monday denied that they -- or their allies -- had targeted any U.S. naval vessels after media reports emerged suggesting that the Shia militia had opened fire on a U.S. warship deployed in the Red Sea.

Yemen’s Houthi-run SABA news agency quoted a Houthi military source as saying that the reports had "no basis in fact" and were aimed at diverting attention from a Saturday attack on a funeral procession in Yemeni capital Sanaa that left 140 dead and hundreds injured.

The Houthis blame the deadly Sanaa attack on a Saudi-led coalition which since March of last year has carried out numerous airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen.

The coalition, for its part, has denied responsibility for the carnage, saying forces under its command "have explicit instructions not to target civilians".

Early Monday, the Yemeni government’s ambassador to Washington alleged via Twitter that Houthi militiamen had fired two missiles at a U.S. warship in the Red Sea.

Speaking to reporters, U.S. officials confirmed that two missiles had been fired from Yemen at the USS Mason but that neither had struck the ship.

U.S. officials did not say who had fired the missiles.

The incident is the first of its kind since the Yemen conflict erupted in late 2014, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing Yemen’s Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh. 

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring the country’s embattled government. 

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-government forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south -- including Aden -- but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In a related development Sunday night, the Saudi-led coalition announced it had intercepted two ballistic missiles, one of which had been aimed at the Saudi city of Taif in the kingdom’s Mecca province, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

According to the SPA, both missiles were successfully intercepted without causing any casualties or material damage. 

Yemen’s pro-Houthi Al-Masirah television channel, for its part, quoted Houthi officials as saying that the group had targeted Taif’s King Fahd military base. 

The Houthi missile attack into Saudi territory coincides with an uptick in violence on the Saudi-Yemeni border since Saturday’s deadly airstrike incident.  


Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2016, 16:24