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Pentagon: Somali pirates suspected of being behind the attack on a cargo ship in the Middle East


Once the coalition ships arrived, the task force demanded the release of the civilian vessel, according to DOD. The Central Park is a small tanker flying the Liberian flag and managed by the London-based company Zodiac Maritime. The five individuals then left the ship and fled aboard a small boat.

The mason pursued, firing shots at the boat, but caused no injuries, Ryder said. The US Navy crew apprehended the attackers, who were on board the Mason.

About an hour and a half later, two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen “at the general location” of the Mason, according to the Defense Department. The ship tracked the missiles, which landed safely in the Gulf about 10 nautical miles away, but did not attempt to shoot them down, Ryder said.

The Defense Department is still evaluating whether the mason was the intended target of the attack, Ryder said. If so, it would be the first time Houthi rebels have deliberately targeted US maritime forces with missiles in the Gulf since Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7.

At the same time, the number of attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria has risen to 73 since October 17, Ryder told reporters. However, the latest attacks took place on Thursday.

Ryder declined to link the lack of attacks to the pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas, which began Friday and was originally scheduled to end at midnight Monday Eastern Time. The two sides agreed to extend the truce by two days, Qatari negotiators announced Monday.

The developments come as the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf on Sunday, the military said.


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