Iranian-Backed Forces Fire Two Missiles At USS Mason

A naval confrontation with pirates in the Gulf of Aden apparently led to a pair of missiles being fired at a U.S. destroyer by Iranian-backed Houthi forces in Yemen.

The bizarre incident began on Sunday when the USS Mason, part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, received a distress call. The commercial vessel under attack was the M/V Central Park, located about 35 miles south of Yemen and 54 nautical miles from the Somalian coast.

The besieged container ship is reportedly Israeli-owned and sailing under the Liberian flag.

The tanker, which was carrying phosphoric acid, was struck by pirates of unknown origin. Armed men were able to board the vessel, which carried 22 sailors.

When the USS Mason arrived, the five gunmen fled the ship and attempted to escape on a small watercraft. They were pursued and captured by the USS Mason, and none of the merchant ship’s crew were harmed.

Navy personnel ran them down in a U.S. helicopter gunship that fired multiple warning shots. A Japanese destroyer assisted in the capture of the likely overwhelmed pirates, who were arrested and are being questioned by American forces under anti-piracy authority.

Then the confrontation escalated dramatically. According to a statement from Central Command, “two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the general location of the USS Mason and M/V Central Park.”

The missiles landed roughly 10 nautical miles from their apparent targets and there were no injuries. Jennifer Griffin of Fox News reported that the U.S. military considers the attack a “significant escalation in Houthi threats to U.S. Navy vessels.”

No group claimed responsibility for the failed missile attack, but it followed other recent incidents linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

The Central Park vessel is owned by an Israeli billionaire and another container ship owned by a different Israeli entity was attacked Friday in the Indian Ocean.

This was apparently carried out by an Iranian drone.

Even as the sides entered a truce and hostages and prisoners were exchanged, tensions over the Middle East war flared in shipping lanes around the world. The threat is that the conflict will spread throughout the region and become a far greater global disruption.