A U.S. Navy warship in the northern Red Sea on Thursday shot down three cruise missiles and several drones launched from Yemen that the Pentagon said might have been headed toward Israel.
“We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.
The missiles and drones were launched by pro-Iranian Houthi rebels in Yemen amid a flurry of drone attacks against American troops in Iraq and Syria over the past three days, General Ryder said. The incidents underscored the risks that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas could spiral into a wider war.
Military analysts were trying to determine who carried out the drone attacks, General Ryder said, but Iran-backed militias have in the past conducted drone and rocket attacks against the 2,500 American troops based in Iraq and the 900 troops in Syria.
Since Hamas’s terrorist attacks against Israel on Oct. 7, the Biden administration has rushed two aircraft carriers and additional troops to the eastern Mediterranean near Israel to deter Iran and its proxies in the region from engaging in a regional war.
Israel has responded to the Hamas attacks with airstrikes and a “complete siege” of Gaza, which the group controls.
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