Iran-Backed Rebels in Yemen Launch Missiles at US Navy


The failed attack on the USS Mason began around 7pm local time on Sunday when the ship detected two inbound missiles, the United States military said.

State Department lawyers "had their hair on fire" as reports of civilian casualties in Yemen multiplied in 2015, and prominent human rights groups charged that Washington could be complicit in war crimes, one USA official said.

Britain called for an investigation into Saturday's airstrike and said it was comfortable with the Saudi military investigating its own forces, despite concerns raised by human rights groups.

Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 following nationwide protests and a Saudi-sponsored peace initiative, commands troops that have defected and sided with Iran-backed Shiite rebels, who overran the Yemeni capital in September 2014.

One Saudi official is quoted as saying they do not want a war in Yemen "But we can not stand by while insurgents overthrow a legitimate government in a neighboring state by force, while Yemen becomes a lawless state and terrorist haven, and while we are attacked across our border". The destroyer at the time of the missile fire was north of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which serves as a gateway for oil tankers headed to Europe through the Suez Canal, the official said. Recently, the USA had one military adviser working with the coalition in its military planning in Yemen and has relocated to Bahrain the 45 personnel that had been doing that work at a military base in Saudi Arabia.

Although the Houthis rejected the claims, Davis suggested the rebels fired the missiles, noting that the group had acknowledged responsibility for firing on a vessel from the United Arab Emirates a week earlier. Now the United States is arming the Saudi coalition in agreement that they need to protect their border against attacks from the Iran Houthis which the State Department doesn't deny.

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Iranian media reported on Monday that Houthi rebels fired a "locally manufactured ballistic missile" that struck an airbase in central Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi military said the missile fired late Saturday night was intercepted and caused no damage.

Four others were also wounded in the strike overnight, on a position that forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in a mountainous area between the Abyan and Bayda provinces, they said.

The missiles did not hit their target, but the Pentagon says they're investigating.

Most notably, a rocket apparently targeted an air base in Taif, some 520 kilometers (325 miles) from the Yemeni border. The U.N. and rights groups estimate the conflict has killed at least 9,000 people and displaced almost 3 million more.

The United States has scaled back its support for the Saudi coalition as it has waged an airstrike campaign that by some estimates has led to 2,000 civilian deaths.