The destroyer USS Mason joined other ships in answering a distress call from the commercial tanker Central Park in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend. File Photo by Rafael Martie/U.S. Navy | License Photo
Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Five armed intruders surrendered to U.S. forces after they tried to take control of a merchant ship near Yemen over the weekend in the Gulf of Aden in what appeared to be the latest attempt at piracy by Houthi rebels.
The USS Mason joined other ships in answering a distress call from the commercial tanker Central Park. After the forces demanded the ship's release, the pirates tried to escape in a small boat.
U.S. Central Command said two ballistic missiles were launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen in the general direction of the Mason and Central Park after the incident but landed 10 nautical miles away.
"Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability," said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CentCom commander. "We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes."
The encounter appeared to be a continuation of increased activities by militant groups aligned with Iran since the start of hostilities between Hamas and Israel on Oct. 7.
The Houthis, a militant group, have been fighting a civil war since 2014 against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and a third faction, backed by the United Arab Emirates, that opposes the Houthis and the Saudi-backed forces.
On Nov. 19, Houthi militants hijacked a cargo ship near Yemen in the southern Red Sea. The Houthis said in a statement then that it would target ships in response to the "daily massacres and genocide" in Gaza and "brutal Israeli-American aggression."
The Pentagon said the Houthis downed an unmanned U.S. drone in international waters in the Red Sea on Nov. 8. That came two weeks after a Navy warship, the USS Carney, downed a series of missiles and drones launched by Houthi-backed forces.