US warship ‘shoots down drone headed in its direction’ after reports of attack from Yemen

The US Navy has shot down a suspected Houthi drone which was headed in the direction of a warship after being launched from Yemen, according to a defence official.
The USS Mason destroyer took out the targetted drone, according to the US military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Houthi rebels had attacked a commercial ship, the defence official said, and the Mason was responding to that attempted raid when it took out the drone.
No one was hurt in the attack, they added.
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The official said the commercial vessel Ardmore Encounter was attacked by small boats and then by two missiles that missed the ship.
The two missiles were launched from territory held by Yemen’s Houthi rebels and missed the tanker near the Bab al Mandeb Strait – a maritime trade route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
The Ardmore Encounter was transporting jet fuel to Europe from Mangalore in India when guards opened fire to drive off skiffs loaded with men trying to board the vessel, according to the private intelligence firm Ambrey.
“No one boarded the vessel and all crew members are safe and accounted for,” a statement from Ardmore Shipping Corporation said.
“The vessel remains fully operational with no loss of cargo or damage on board.”
“Ardmore is in close contact with the relevant authorities and military assistance is now in the area providing support as required,” it added.
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The assault was part of an escalating campaign by the Iranian-backed Houthis to target ships near the Bab al Mandeb Strait.
Nearly 10% of all oil traded at sea passes through it, which equates to an annual estimation of $1trn (£789bn) in goods.
The rebel group is suspected to have carried out a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.

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How Houthis seized cargo ship

Earlier on Wednesday, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations – which provides warnings to sailors in the Middle East – reported a separate incident off the coast of Oman.
It said a vessel had been followed by smaller boats carrying machine guns and men in grey uniforms before escaping unharmed.
This followed a strike on a Norwegian-flagged tanker in the Red Sea off the coast near Yemen on Monday.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack and said the Norwegian-owned ship was heading to Israel.
The group has blamed Israel for instability in the Middle East, saying the “circle of conflict” in the region was driven by its “continued crimes”.
There was no immediate link found between the Ardmore Encounter and Israel.

Source : Sky News