US military shoots down missiles and drones as it faces growing threats in volatile Middle East

WASHINGTON: With tensions spiking within the Middle East, US forces within the area are dealing with growing threats, as a Navy warship shot down missiles showing to move towards Israel Thursday and American bases in Iraq and Syria had been repeatedly focused by drone assaults. The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer within the northern Purple Sea, intercepted three land assault cruise missiles and several other drones that had been launched by Houthi forces in Yemen. The motion by the Carney probably represented the primary pictures by the US navy within the protection of Israel on this battle.
Brig Gen Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, informed reporters the missiles had been “probably” headed towards Israel however mentioned the US hasn’t completed its evaluation of what they had been concentrating on.
A US official mentioned they do not imagine the missiles – which had been shot down over the water – had been aimed on the US warship. The official spoke on situation of anonymity to debate navy operations that had not but been introduced.
However an array of different drone assaults over the previous three days did goal US bases, together with one in southern Syria on Thursday that brought on minor accidents.
The rash of violence comes within the wake of an explosion at a Gaza hospital that killed a whole bunch of individuals, triggering protests in various Muslim nations. The Israeli navy has relentlessly attacked Gaza in retaliation for the devastating Hamas rampage in southern Israel virtually two weeks in the past, however Israel has denied accountability for the al-Ahli hospital blast and the US has mentioned its intelligence evaluation discovered that Tel Aviv was to not blame.
In current days, nevertheless, various militant teams throughout the area – from Hezbolla to the Houthis – have expressed help for the Palestinians and threatened Israel. Since Tuesday, militants have launched at the least 4 drone assaults on US navy installations in Iraq and Syria the place US troops prepare native protection forces and help the mission to counter the Islamic State group.
The assaults gasoline escalating worries within the US and the West that the conflict in Israel might develop into a bigger regional battle.
“That is precisely what we are attempting to stop,” Ryder mentioned.
The latest drone assault was Thursday at al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq posted an announcement claiming accountability for the assault, saying that they had fired a salvo of rockets on the base and “they hit their targets straight and exactly.” A US official confirmed the newest assault however mentioned it was too early to evaluate any influence.
Additionally Thursday, the al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria was struck by drones. US troops have maintained a presence on the base for various years to coach Syrian allies and monitor Islamic State militant exercise.
The Pentagon mentioned one drone was shot down, however one other hit the bottom and brought on minor accidents.
The garrison is situated on an important highway that always utilized by Iranian-backed militants to ferry weapons to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon – and Israel’s doorstep.
Syrian opposition activists additionally mentioned there was a separate drone assault on an oil facility in jap Syria that homes American troops. Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet, mentioned three drones with explosives struck the Conoco fuel discipline within the jap province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition conflict monitor, additionally confirmed explosions on the web site.
On Tuesday, militants launched three drones in opposition to two Iraq bases that the US makes use of to coach forces and conduct operations in opposition to the Islamic States. In the course of the spate of launches, one warning turned out to be a false alarm at al-Asad, however it despatched personnel dashing into bunkers. Throughout that incident, a contractor suffered a cardiac arrest and died, Ryder mentioned.
He mentioned the Pentagon doesn’t but have affirmation on who launched the drone assaults however mentioned the US “will take all needed actions to defend US and coalition forces in opposition to any menace.” He mentioned any navy response would come “at a time and a fashion of our selecting”.
On the intercepts by the Carney, Ryder mentioned the strikes had been finished as a result of the Houthi missiles “posed a possible menace” primarily based on their flight profile. He added that the US is ready to do no matter is required “to guard our companions and our pursuits on this necessary area.” He mentioned the US remains to be assessing what the goal was, however mentioned no US forces or civilians on the bottom had been injured.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have expressed help for the Palestinians and threatened Israel. Final week, in Yemen’s Sanaa, which is held by the Houthi rebels nonetheless at conflict with a Saudi-led coalition, demonstrators crowded the streets waving Yemeni and Palestinian flags. The rebels’ slogan lengthy has been, “God is the best; demise to America; demise to Israel; curse of the Jews; victory to Islam.”
Final week, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the insurgent group’s chief, warned america in opposition to intervening within the ongoing battle between Israel and Hamas, threatening that his forces would retaliate by firing drones and missiles.
When approached Thursday, two Houthi officers declined to touch upon the incident. One mentioned he was unaware of the incident, whereas the second mentioned he didn’t have the authority to talk about it.

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