Apr 05, 2024

Terrorist target U.S. destroyer with missile, drones in the Red Sea

Posted Apr 05, 2024 10:00 AM
File photo U.S. Central command
File photo U.S. Central command

CAIRO (AP)— The United States’ military says its forces shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile and two aerial drones launched by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. Central Command said Thursday that the target of the attack was the USS Gravely destroyer, which is patrolling the Red Sea. The military said it destroyed a mobile surface-to-air missile system in Houthi-held territory in response to the attack early Wednesday.

The Houthis have repeatedly targeted international shipping and U.S. forces in the Red Sea in recent months in what they portray as a blockade of Israel in response to the war in Gaza. They have attacked several ships with no known connection to Israel.

The U.S. and its allies have responded with strikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen.

The latest confrontation came as tensions are high across the Middle East following an apparent Israeli airstrike in Syria’s capital, Damascus, that destroyed the Iranian Consulate and killed two Iranian generals. Iran has vowed to respond to the attack.

Meanwhile, Israel says it's taking steps to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, including reopening a key border crossing into hard-hit northern Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the plans early Friday, just hours after President Joe Biden told him that future U.S. support for the war in Gaza depends on Israel taking more action to protect civilians and aid workers. The announcement did not elaborate on quantities or types of items to be let in.

Still, despite their differences, the Biden administration has continued to provide Israel crucial military aid and diplomatic support for Israel's six-month war against Hamas. Israel faces growing international isolation after its forces killed seven aid workers helping deliver food in Gaza.

The Palestinian death toll soared above 33,000 people on Thursday, with another 75,600 wounded, Gaza's Health Ministry said. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

The United Nations says much of the population in northern Gaza is on the brink of starvation. The top United Nations court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies — and the U.N. Security Council has issued a legally binding demand for a cease-fire.

The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.