Navy destroyer Mason shoots Houthi missile ‘likely’ headed for US ship

by Tommy Grant

The Navy destroyer Mason shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile over the Gulf of Aden Tuesday that was launched by Houthi militants and was “likely targeting” a U.S. commercial ship, the military said.

U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said the missile that launched from Yemen by the Iranian-backed group appeared to be aimed at the American vessel M/V Yorktown. The Mason and the Navy warship Laboon were escorting it through the region’s precarious waters when the attack occurred.

“There were no injuries or damage reported by U.S., coalition, or commercial ships,” CENTCOM said in the statement.

The incident marks at least the ninth engagement for the Mason since the Houthis began their campaign of assaults in the fall on commercial and military ships, and one of the few times in recent months that officials revealed a U.S. merchant vessel was directly targeted.

An announcement on the latest skirmish came the same day that CENTCOM shared the U.S. redirected thousands of weapons to Ukraine earlier this month, which it seized from an Iranian group attempting to smuggle the munitions to the Houthis.

Among other episodes for the Mason in the ongoing conflict, back in February, it shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile that CENTCOM said likely targeted the American tanker M/V Torm Thor. The destroyer also participated in January in downing a barrage of drones and missiles fired into the Red Sea.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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