US warship in Red Sea shoots down Iranian-made drone launched from Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. Navy warship in the Red Sea shot down an Iran-produced drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday, in the latest defensive move by the U.S. military in the region in recent weeks.

Washington is on heightened alert for activity by Iran-backed groups as regional tensions soar during the Israel-Hamas conflict and has been trying to ensure that it does not spread.

The drone was shot down by the Carney, a destroyer, U.S. Central Command, part of the Department of Defense, said on messaging platform X.

“Although its intentions are not known, the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was heading toward the warship,” it said, adding that at the time the Carney was escorting two ships, one of which was carrying military equipment to the region.

There were no injuries to U.S. personnel and no damage to U.S. ships, the statement said.

In October, a U.S. warship intercepted four cruise missiles and 15 drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement from Yemen towards Israel.

The U.S. has sent a significant amount of naval power to the Middle East in the past month, including two aircraft carriers, their support ships and thousands of U.S. troops since October.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Phil Stewart and Costas Pitas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)