USS Carney downs more Iran-backed drones in the Red Sea

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, on October 19, 2023. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. Photo by MC2 Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy/UPI
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, on October 19, 2023. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. Photo by MC2 Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy/UPI

Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A U.S. warship and three commercial vessels were attacked in the Red Sea on Sunday, a possible escalation of hostilities in the region as a weeklong military stand down between Hamas and Israel came to an end Friday, despite a last minute scramble to extend the truce for at least another day.

The Qatari-brokered deal had been extended several times, allowing for the exchange of hostages and civilians to escape the hostilities of the war, but within minutes of its expiration, Gaza began military assaults on Israel, which vowed to respond and was "out to destroy" Hamas, an IDF spokesman said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's mission was "to release the hostages, to liquidate Hamas."

The USS Carney, which has been regularly involved in military action in the last few weeks, shot down three more Iran-backed Houthi rebel drones while responding to distress calls from the commercial vessels, according to the Pentagon, which added the assaults lasted about seven hours and damaged two of the ships.

"These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security,'' U.S. Central Command said. "They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world. ... The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners.''

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, on October 19, 2023. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. Photo by MC2 Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy/UPI
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, on October 19, 2023. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. Photo by MC2 Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy/UPI

All told, there were four attacks against three different commercial vessels operating in the southern Red Sea's international waters.

The Carney was not damaged in the incident and no serious injuries were reported, the Pentagon said. Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the ships don't have a connection to the United States.

Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) stand watch in the ship's Combat Information Center during an operation to defeat a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea, on October 19, 2023. Carney is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region. Photo by MC2 Aaron Lau/U.S. Navy/UPI

Officials said these latest attacks could represent an escalation in the war between Israel and Hamas, which began Oct. 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people. Israel responded with repeated, ongoing attacks on Hamas in the Gaza Strip that the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says have killed more than 15,500 Palestinians, 70% of them women and children, and as many as 41,000 have been injured.

The Carney has shot down multiple air drones over the Red Sea in the past six weeks. On Oct. 19, its crew intercepted a salvo of missiles and air drones that the Pentagon said were heading toward Israel, according to U.S. Central Command.

"The Red Sea is a vital artery in the global economy, and CENTCOM said the attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security," U.S. Central Command said in a statement.