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The USS Carney in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea (archive image)

Photo: Ryan U. Kledzik / AP

In the Red Sea, according to the Pentagon, a US warship and several merchant ships have been attacked. "We are aware of reports of attacks on the USS Carney and merchant ships in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available," a Pentagon spokesman said. The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The British military had previously reported a suspected drone strike and explosions in the Red Sea, without elaborating.

The attacks could represent a significant escalation in the Middle East conflict. True, the Pentagon did not specify where he thought the shelling came from. However, Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have carried out a series of attacks on ships in the Red Sea, including firing drones and missiles at Israel. A U.S. official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the attack began around 10 a.m. in Sanaa, Yemen, and lasted up to five hours. Initially, there was no immediate statement from the Houthis. However, a military spokesman for the rebels later said that the Houthis had attacked two Israeli ships.

Global shipping is increasingly becoming a target in the conflict: At the beginning of November, the Houthis hijacked a transport ship in the Red Sea off Yemen, which is also linked to Israel. The rebels are still holding the ship near the port city of Hodeidah. Also last week, missiles landed near another U.S. warship.

However, the Houthis had not directly targeted the Americans for some time. In 2016, the U.S. launched Tomahawk cruise missiles that destroyed three near-shore radar installations in Houthi-controlled territory in retaliation for shelling U.S. Navy ships.