Pentagon hints at possible retaliation after missile fired at US Navy destroyer

Dhaka,  Sun,  11 December 2016
Published : 12 Oct 2016, 09:50:57

Pentagon hints at possible retaliation after missile fired at US Navy destroyer

The Pentagon on Tuesday warned that whoever fired missiles at a US Navy destroyer and an accompanying ship off the coast of Yemen over the weekend had done so "at their own peril," language that suggested preparations for possible retaliation, reports Reuters.

Two shore-launched cruise missiles, which US officials believe were designed to hit vessels at sea, were fired at the US Navy ships on Sunday from Houthi-controlled territory of Yemen, just north of the Bab al-Mandab strait.

Both failed to hit the ships but the attack, which was first reported by Reuters, could deepen US involvement in Yemen. US military action in the country has largely been reserved for the battle against al Qaeda's affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, not the Houthis.

"Anybody who takes action, fires against US Navy ships operating in international waters, does so at their own peril," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told a news briefing.

Asked whether the Pentagon was developing targets for retaliatory strikes, Davis said: "I'm not confirming that right now."

US support for a Saudi Arabia-led coalition battling the Houthis has been reduced in recent months, and had been under review amid growing concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen's war. It includes refeuelling Saudi jets that are carrying out strikes.

The Houthis, allies of Iran who drove the Western- and Saudi Arabia-backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi from the capital in 2014, have denied firing at the USS Mason guided missile destroyer and the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport dock.

But US officials have told Reuters that Washington is operating under the assumption that Houthi forces fired the cruise missiles on Sunday.

Davis suggested as much on Tuesday, noting that the Houthis had previously acknowledged responsibility for firing on a vessel from the United Arab Emirates a week earlier.

"The Houthis have said publicly before that they would target any ships in that area that were supporting the coalition against them," Davis said.

"So the facts certainly seem to point to it, but we are still assessing and we will have more for you."

The Pentagon on Tuesday warned that whoever fired missiles at a US Navy destroyer and an accompanying ship off the coast of Yemen over the weekend had done so "at their own peril," language that suggested preparations for possible retaliation.

Two shore-launched cruise missiles, which US officials believe were designed to hit vessels at sea, were fired at the US Navy ships on Sunday from Houthi-controlled territory of Yemen, just north of the Bab al-Mandab strait.

Both failed to hit the ships but the attack, which was first reported by Reuters, could deepen US involvement in Yemen. US military action in the country has largely been reserved for the battle against al Qaeda's affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, not the Houthis.

"Anybody who takes action, fires against US Navy ships operating in international waters, does so at their own peril," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told a news briefing.

Asked whether the Pentagon was developing targets for retaliatory strikes, Davis said: "I'm not confirming that right now."

US support for a Saudi Arabia-led coalition battling the Houthis has been reduced in recent months, and had been under review amid growing concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen's war. It includes refeuelling Saudi jets that are carrying out strikes.

The Houthis, allies of Iran who drove the Western- and Saudi Arabia-backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi from the capital in 2014, have denied firing at the USS Mason guided missile destroyer and the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport dock.

But US officials have told Reuters that Washington is operating under the assumption that Houthi forces fired the cruise missiles on Sunday.

Davis suggested as much on Tuesday, noting that the Houthis had previously acknowledged responsibility for firing on a vessel from the United Arab Emirates a week earlier.

"The Houthis have said publicly before that they would target any ships in that area that were supporting the coalition against them," Davis said.

"So the facts certainly seem to point to it, but we are still assessing and we will have more for you."



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