The national security adviser said Iran is “ultimately responsible.”
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the United States is consulting with allies on “appropriate actions” in response to the latest Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea.
“We have made it clear that the entire world needs to step up, not just the United States, but all of us working together to confront this emerging challenge presented by the Iran-backed Houthis. We will take appropriate steps in consultation with others and we will do it at the time and place we choose.
Three commercial ships were attacked in international waters of the Red Sea on Sunday, US military officials said, as Houthi militants claimed responsibility for the latest incursion into the Middle East, where tensions have been high since the war between Israel and Hamas began.
The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer that has been patrolling the area, intercepted and shot down three drones while assisting ships on Sunday, CENTCOM said.
“The Carney took action when a drone was heading in its direction, but again we cannot say that the Carney, at this time, was the intended target,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, said Monday, although she added that the Carney The Pentagon did not rule out the possibility.
At the White House, ABC Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce pressed Sullivan that U.S. retaliation efforts have been ineffective so far as the Houthis continue to fire missiles and drones at commercial ships in the Red Sea, forcing American ships in the area to withdraw. reply.
He defended the “measures” the administration has taken, but acknowledged that there continues to be what he called “very alarming behavior.”
“We have taken a number of measures, including the movement of aircraft carriers, air wings and others, to prevent this war now being fought between Israel and Hamas in Gaza from turning into a broader conflict, a full-blown regional conflict.” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not seeing some very alarming behavior and there are two ways in particular that we’re focused on: one is the attacks by Iranian-aligned and supported Shia militia groups in Iraq and Syria, who are attacking our “We’re taking measures to protect our people and fight back.”
He continued to blame Iran squarely for the Houthi attacks, saying that country is supplying the Houthis with the weapons they are using.
“We are talking about the Houthis, they are the ones who have their finger on the trigger, but that weapon, the weapons here are being supplied by Iran, and Iran, we believe, is most responsible for this.”
Sullivan also said the commercial ships attacked had links to 14 different countries and showed the extent of a “source of global concern and a threat to international peace and stability.” He added that the United States does not believe the three ships had ties to Israel.
“This demonstrates the level of recklessness with which the Houthis are operating. Any ship they shoot at, whether Israeli-owned or having some past connection to Israel, that does not make it a justifiable target.” “Under international law that if the ship had no ties to Israel, but we believe that some of the ships may not have ties.”
ABC News’ Matthew Seyler contributed to this report.