A U.S. guided-missile destroyer operating in the Middle East shot down a drone from Yemen on Wednesday, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) shot down the drone in the Red Sea, according to the Defense Department.
“On November 15th and while transiting the international waters of the Red Sea, the crew of the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) engaged a drone that originated from Yemen and was heading in the direction of the ship,” the Pentagon said in the statement.
“The Hudner‘s crew engaged and shot down the drone to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel. There were no U.S. casualties or any damage to the ship.”
Hudner is operating in U.S. Central Command, disaggregated from the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group. As of Monday, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) was operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, which is under U.S. European Command rather than U.S. Central Command.
The Ford Carrier Strike Group is part of the ongoing naval buildup in the region since Hamas launched attacks in southern Israel last month. Defense Department officials say there has been an increase in the number of attacks on U.S. troops operating throughout the region since last month.
Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 15, there have been 55 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters on Tuesday. Of the 55 attacks, 27 were in Iraq and 28 were in Syria. In the month of attacks, 59 service members have experienced traumatic brain injuries or other non-serious injuries.
The U.S. has launched three strikes against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities that the Pentagon says manufacture weapons for Iran-backed or Iranian proxy groups. Last week, the Houthis in Yemen shot down an MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Red Sea.
While the uptick in strikes began on Oct. 17, 10 days after Hamas launched an attack on Israel and Israel began its subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip, the Pentagon maintains the conflict has not expanded beyond Israel and Gaza. Israeli forces have also exchanged fire with Hezbollah in Lebanon, while the West Bank has seen an uptick in settler violence.
“I’ll emphasize right now, we are seeing the conflict contained to Gaza,” Singh told reporters. “And so that is what we want to see and we don’t want to see this expand beyond that.”
The conflict began on Oct. 7, when Hamas, a U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization, launched attacks in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 200 others. Israel has responded with an ongoing military campaign against Gaza, the Palestinian territory governed by Hamas. Israel’s strikes have killed more than 11,000 people in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.