(MENAFN- IANS) London, Nov 27 (IANS) Iran-backed Houthi rebels have fired missiles at a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen in a 'significant escalation' with American forces in the Middle East, media reports said.
Reports said that the USS Mason had responded to a distress call from an Israeli-linked chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden that had been seized by the armed rebels.
The Central Park tanker was carrying a cargo of phosphoric acid when its crew called for help, saying 'they were under attack from an unknown entity', Daily Mail reported.
Allied ships from a counter-piracy task force that operates in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, including the USS Mason, responded to the call for help and 'demanded the release of the vessel' upon reaching the tanker.
'Subsequently, five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat,' the US Central Command said in a statement, adding: 'The Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender.'
Hours later, two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen which landed near the US warship -- a guided-missile destroyer -- raising the stakes amid a series of ship attacks linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
Both missiles fell short by 10 nautical miles and landed in the water, Daily Mail reported.
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