The Pentagon says an American warship and multiple commercial vessels have come under attack in the Red Sea

An American warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack Sunday in the Red Sea, the Pentagon confirmed.

The attack on US maritime vessels potentially marks a major escalation in a series of attacks in the Mideast, linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The Pentagon said: ‘We´re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available.’ 

The British military earlier said there had been a suspected drone attack and explosions in the Red Sea, without elaborating.

Pictured: USS Carney, DDG 64, in  Jacksonville, Florida. The Pentagon said: ‘We´re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available’

The Pentagon did not identify where it believed the fire came from. 

However, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been launching a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea – as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel as it wages war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The rebels, from Yemen’s Houthis, were officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States under the Trump administration – until Biden removed the militants from the list in 2021. 

Aid groups had said at the time of Trump’s move that it could further devastate the country, which was plunged into civil war in 2014.

Backed by Iran, the group expressed support for Hamas in the wake of the terror group’s October 7 attack on Israel and has launched other attacks since.

Just last week, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fired missiles at a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen in a ‘significant escalation’ with American forces.

The USS Mason had responded to a distress call on Sunday from an Israeli-linked chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden that had been seized by armed rebels.

The Central Park tanker was carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when its crew called for help, saying ‘they were under attack from an unknown entity’.

Allied ships from a counter-piracy task force that operates in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, including the USS Mason, responded to the call for help and ‘demanded the release of the vessel’ upon reaching the tanker.

‘Subsequently, five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat,’ the US Central Command said in a statement, adding: ‘The Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender.’

Hours later, at 1.41am local time, two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen then landed near the US warship – a guided-missile destroyer, raising the stakes amid a series of ship attacks linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

Both missiles fell short by 10 nautical miles and landed in the water. 

The tanker hijacked last Sunday was identified as the Liberian-flagged Central Park by the vessel’s company Zodiac Maritime after its seizure.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government blamed the Houthi rebels for the attack, though the rebels in control of the capital, Sanaa, did not acknowledge either the seizure or the missile attack. 

The Central Command did not identify the attackers, but said a missile launch from Houthi-controlled Yemen followed early Monday morning.

‘The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometers) from the ships,’ the statement said. ‘The USS Mason – was concluding its response to the M/V Central Park distress call at the time of the missile launches. There was no damage or reported injuries from either vessel during this incident.’

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM commander said: ‘Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability. We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes.’