The U.S. Navy destroyer the USS Carney fired into Yemen, taking out a missile it said was aimed toward the ship. The strike came hours after another missile hit a commercial vessel sailing through the Red Sea.

U.S. Central Command said that the operation happened around 3:45 a.m. Sana’a time. The U.S. Navy identified what it said was an anti-ship missile in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen, aimed toward the Red Sea. In what CENTCOM called a “self-defense” strike, the USS Carney fired on and destroyed the missile before it could launch. 

“This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels,” CENTCOM said in a statement. 

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The Houthis claimed earlier today that American and British forces launched strikes on the port of Ras Issa, the main site for oil export in Yemen. The assertion, made on a Houthi television channel, has not been confirmed by the two Western militaries. 

The Houthi claim and the attack on the USS Carney come after a Houthi-fired anti-ship missile hit the oil tanker the MV Marlin Luanda. The ship, flying under the flag of the Marshall Islands and operating for the commodities firm Trafigura, was hit by the missile, but no injuries were reported. Firefighting teams put out any blazes and U.S.-led coalition ships responded to a distress call. Trafigura said that the MV Marlin Luanda is currently en route to a safe harbor. 

The British government said in a statement following the attack that “the [U.K.] and our allies reserve the right to respond appropriately.” The British military has bombed Yemen at least twice in the last month, in coordination with American forces. 

The  USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, has been engaged in interception operations in the Red Sea since October, when it shot down multiple missiles and drones over several hours. Since then it has taken part in multiple operations. Earlier this month the U.S., along with the United Kingdom, bombed dozens of sites across Yemen. 

The Houthi movement has been undeterred by the strikes and has continued to attempt to disrupt commercial shipping through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Since the attacks started in October, several shipping companies have diverted their traffic away from the Red Sea — which connects to the Suez Canal — taking longer and more costly routes around the Cape of Good Hope. 

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