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Houthis launch anti-ship ballistic missiles at U.S. warship


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FDD's Long War Journal

Joe Truzman & Bill Roggio

November 27, 2023

The Iranian-backed Houthis, which controls large areas in Yemen, launched anti-ship ballistic missiles at a U.S. warship responding to a hijacking of a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 27. The missiles missed their mark.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that “At approximately 0141 on Nov. 27 Sanaa time, two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen toward the general location of the USS MASON (DDG 87) and M/V CENTRAL PARK.”

“The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately ten nautical miles from the ships,” CENTCOM reported.

The USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer assigned to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, was responding to an attempt by “an unknown entity” to hijack the M/V Central Park, a Liberian-flagged tanker. The crew of the Central Park “barricaded themselves in the tanker’s citadel, an armored panic room,” and the hijackers left the ship as the USS Mason and a Japanese warship closed in, USNI News reported. Five pirates, likely Houthis, were captured.

The Houthis, commonly referred to as Ansar Allah, are known to possess anti-ship ballistic missiles, which Iran has provided. In Sept. 2022, the Houthis paraded the missiles.

The Houthis, which have a history of harassing and attacking commercial vessels operating in the Gulf of Aden, the Bab al Mandeb Strait, and the Red Sea, have stepped up attacks on shipping over the past week. On Nov. 14, the Houthis threatened to sink commercial vessels, prompting the International Maritime Security Construct to issue a warning for vessels traveling thru the vital Bab al Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea. 

“We will sink your ships,” the Houthis declared in Arabic, English, and Hebrew on a graphic released on Nov. 14 showing an Israeli commercial vessel in flames.


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