US Navy warship shoots down drone from Yemen over the Red Sea

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Navy warship shot down a drone that was heading toward the ship as it sailed in the southern Red Sea, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The USS Thomas Hudner, a naval destroyer, was sailing toward the Bab-el-Mandeb strait when the crew saw the drone, which originated in Yemen. The ship shot down the drone over the water. The officials said the crew took action to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel, and there were no casualties or damage to the ship. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

According to a initial intelligence assessment, the drone was likely targeting the ship, said one of the officials. The U.S. did not directly blame the Iran-backed Houthi rebels for launching the unmanned aircraft. But the early Wednesday incident comes less than a week after Houthis shot down a U.S. drone over the Red Sea. Officials said the MQ-9 Reaper was in international airspace. The Houthis said it was in Yemeni airspace and was shot down by air defenses.

The Houthis have launched at least six aerial attacks against Israel since Oct. 7 and, according to the group's leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, have vowed to target ships operating in the Red Sea.

Another Navy destroyer, the USS Carney, took similar strikes on drones coming from Yemen on Oct. 19. The ship took out three missiles and several drones. It wasn’t certain if they were aimed at Israel. One of the officials said the U.S. does not believe the missiles were aimed at the ship.

The Houthi are staunch foes of Israel and regularly hold huge demonstrations in support of Palestinians, during peacetime and wartime.


Associated Press writer Jack Jeffery contributed to this report from Cairo.