The guided missile destroyer USS Carney firing on missiles
A handout picture courtesy of the US Navy shows the guided missile destroyer USS Carney firing on missiles and drones launched from Yemen on October 19, 2023. AFP

A US Navy warship shot down a drone on Wednesday launched from a part of Yemen controlled by Iran-backed Huthi rebels, the American military's Central Command said.

The Huthis, who control much of Yemen and are part of an "axis of resistance" arrayed against Israel, have launched a series of drones and missiles since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month.

"At approximately 1100 (Sanaa time), while in the South Red Sea, the Arleigh-Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) shot down an Iranian-produced KAS04 unmanned aerial vehicle launched from Huthi-controlled areas of Yemen," CENTCOM said in a statement.

"Although its intentions are not known, the UAV was heading toward the warship," which was escorting a US Navy oiler and a US-flagged ship carrying military equipment, it said, adding that "there were no injuries to US personnel and no damage to US vessels."

The US Navy downed multiple drones launched from Yemen on November 23, one drone on November 15, and both missiles and drones on October 19, while the Huthis shot down an American drone earlier this month.

The drone and missile launches and shootdowns are related to the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, which carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people.

Israel responded with a relentless land and air campaign on Hamas-controlled Gaza that the group's officials say has killed nearly 15,000 people.

Those deaths have provoked widespread anger in the Middle East and provided an impetus for attacks against American troops in the region as well as on Israel by armed groups opposed to both.

Israel has faced drone and missiles launched from Lebanon and Yemen, while American forces in Iraq and Syria have been targeted in a series of attacks that have injured dozens of US personnel.

Washington has blamed the attacks on its personnel on Iran-backed forces and responded with air strikes on multiple occasions.

But a truce between Israel and Hamas appears to have led to a lull in the attacks, with the Pentagon saying Tuesday that there had been none since it began on November 24.

In another incident related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, the United States said Wednesday that an Iranian drone flew dangerously close to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier the day before.

The Eisenhower is the centerpiece of one of two carrier strike groups deployed as part of US efforts to deter Iran and its proxy forces in the Middle East from escalating the Israel-Hamas war into a broader regional conflict.

"This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by Iran risks US and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately," Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who commands American naval forces in the Middle East, said in a statement.