Houthi rebels are stepping up their maritime campaign of targeting vessels they claim to be connected to Israel and U.S. Navy warships are increasingly being caught in the crossfire, testing the limits of the Pentagon's claim it is successfully deterring further attacks in the Middle East.
U.S. Central Command announced on Sunday that the USS Carney responded to four attacks against three separate commercial vessels off the coast of Yemen and shot down drones. Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters Monday that “it's still important to understand and to focus on [the fact that] what's happening in Israel and within Gaza has not spread out into a wider regional conflict.”
It was the fifth incident in the region in recent weeks where a Navy warship felt threatened enough to take the relatively rare step of firing its weapons, or encountered missiles flying in its vicinity. Meanwhile, Houthi rebels in Yemen have said the attacks are aimed at Israel, which remains at war with Hamas amid a U.S. military buildup in the region to support the Israelis and deter expansion of the conflict.
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Tensions in the Red Sea kicked off on Oct. 19 — less than two weeks after Israel declared war on Hamas — when the destroyer USS Carney detected and destroyed four land attack cruise missiles and 15 drones using its…