WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) — A U.S. Naval destroyer off the coast of Yemen was targeted by missiles for the second time in a week, and military commanders are now threatening retaliation as it becomes apparent rebel forces in the country are responsible for the attacks.
The USS Mason was targeted by a missile Wednesday, which fell short of the ship and hit the sea, three days after two missiles were fired at the ship and also missed.
Houthi rebels who control part of Yemen’s coastline are believed to have fired the missiles, possibly in retaliation for a Saudi Arabian airstrike on a funeral on Sunday that killed 140 and injured 525.
“Those who threaten our forces should know that U.S. commanders retain the right to defend their ships, and we will respond to this threat at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led an air attack against Houthi rebels who took over the Yemeni government. The United States has been providing air refueling support and intelligence to the Saudis in their efforts, as well as sending military officials with the planning of some missions.
In recent months, the Obama administration has backed off on some support because it is concerned about the rapidly increasing number of dead from Saudi airstrikes. The strike on the funeral was harshly criticized by the administration, as well as a number of other countries and the United Nations, but the rebels and others believe the airstrike was supported by the U.S.