A U.S. guided missile destroyer in the Red Sea shot down a drone launched from Yemen on Wednesday that was headed toward the USS Thomas Hudner, two defense officials said, though the warship was not considered the intended target.

A statement from the Defense Department on Wednesday said that while “transiting the international waters of the Red Sea, the crew of the USS Thomas Hudner engaged a drone that originated from Yemen and was heading in the direction of the ship. The Hudner’s crew engaged and shot down the drone to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel,” the statement said. “There were no U.S. casualties or any damage to the ship.”

It is not yet clear who launched the drone, but Iranian backed forces in Yemen threatened earlier in the week that they would attack ships in the Red Sea.

An American destroyer shot down multiple drones and a missile in the region last month that were fired in the direction of Israel, but this drone was headed for the USS Hudner, the officials confirmed.

In another incident, the Iranian-backed Houthis shot down a $30 million American MQ-9 Reaper Drone last week, also over the Red Sea. U.S. officials did not launch a recovery effort and while the Houthis did, a Pentagon spokesperson said it was unlikely that they could “recover anything of significance.”

The U.S. has been trying to play peacemaker and contain the war between Israel and Hamas, but the USS Thomas Hudner incident and the shooting down of the Reaper Drone could threaten to limit any progress toward stability.

The U.S. has launched three rounds of retaliatory attacks on Iran-supported groups in Syria, despite nearly 60 attacks on U.S. forces based in Iraq and Syria over the last month.

The Pentagon spokesperson would not commit to whether the U.S. would retaliate for the Reaper Drone downing, but said “we always reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing.”

The USS Hudner is part of a group of ships and personnel that have been deployed to the region in the Red Sea since Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Houthis have claimed responsibility for recent missile attacks in the region and have threatened more if “Israeli aggression” continued.

Source » upi