Two missiles fired at US warship by Iran-backed rebels as vessel rescued Israeli tanker that was stormed by five gunmen

Two missiles fired at US warship by Iran-backed rebels as vessel rescued Israeli tanker that was stormed by five gunmen

IRAN-BACKED rebels fired two missiles at a US Navy warship off the coast of Yemen after hijacking an Israeli tanker.

The USS Mason managed to drive away five hijackers who seized chemical tanker Central Park in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.

ReutersThe USS Mason chased down the hijackers who seized an Israeli tanker in the Gulf of Aden[/caption]

APThe Central Park was attacked in the Gulf of Aden by Iranian-backed rebels[/caption]

Armed attackers took control of the ship on Sunday – with a warning from the UK military describing “two black-and-white craft carrying eight persons in military-style clothing”.

The US Navy was called in and demanded the tanker to be released before five of the attackers tried to escape on a boat.

They were chased down and eventually captured by the Navy.

Although the US has not identified the attackers, Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles from Yemen at the warship as the Navy moved in to arrest the armed hijackers. 

USS Mason tracked the missiles, which landed about 10 nautical miles away from them.

Sources told Fox News that Houti rebels threatening US Navy vessels marked a “significant escalation”.

Yemen’s Houthis were officially recognised as a terrorist organisation in the US under Trump – until Biden removed the militants from the list in 2021. 

They previously vowed to target all ships owned by Israel or flying their flag in the Red Sea.

The US said the ship, which was carrying phosphoric acid, and its crew was now safe.

Central Park is owned by London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

On Monday morning, Zodiac said the vessel and its crew of 22 sailors from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam were unharmed.

“We would like to thank the coalition forces who responded quickly, protecting assets in the area and upholding international maritime law,” the company said.

Zodiac Maritime has been targeted before amid conflict between Iran and Israel.

Two crew members were killed on board one of Zodiac’s other ships, Mercer Street, in 2021.

The US identified the deadly drone attack to have come from Iran.

The US Central Command said USS Mason responded to a distress call “they were under attack by an unknown entity”.

“Upon arrival, coalition elements demanded release of the vessel,” it said.

“Five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat.

“The Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender.

“Two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen toward the general location of the USS Mason and Central Park.

“The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately ten nautical miles from the ships. There was no damage or reported injuries from either vessel during this incident.”

Just last week another Israeli-owned cargo ship was hijacked by the Iran-backed militia in the Red Sea.

Chilling footage showed a chopper landing on the cargo carrier before several gunmen made their mad dash on board.

UK Maritime Trade Operations put the November 19 hijacking as having occurred some 90 miles off the coast of Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, near the coast of Eritrea.

The Houthi militants stormed the desk and held the international crew of 25 at gunpoint during the brutal attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the capture of the cargo as “terrorism“.

Just last week another Israeli owned ship was ambushed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels who stormed the desk with gunsGetty

The Galaxy Leader was attacked last week when Houthi rebels landed onboard in a chopperGetty

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