Two missiles fired from territory held by Houthi rebels in Yemen fell just short of a US warship patrolling the Red Sea, the Navy said Oct. 10. The attack took place just north of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. The destroyer USS Mason had been "conducting routine operations in international waters," the Pentagon said in a statement. A day earlier, the Arab coalition fighting the Houthis accused the rebels of firing a ballistic missile toward the southwestern Saudi city of Taif. The missile was one of two that the Saudi-led coalition intercepted that day, the coalition said. Both attacks were apparent retaliation for an Oct. 8 air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition that killed at least 140 and wounded over 500 at a funeral in Sanaa. In the aftermath of the strike, Yemen's ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh—who has allied his loyalist forces with the Houthis—called for a mobilization along the Saudi border "to take revenge."
The strike on the funeral prompted an unusual phone call from US Secretary of State John Kerry to Saudi defense minister and deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. But prospects for a resumption of peace talks now look practically nil. A round of talks held in Kuwait ended in August with no breakthrough. Fighting has escalated since then. Oct. 1 also saw an apparent Houthi attack on a "civilian" vessel in the contested Bab al-Mandab, wounding crewmen, according to the United Arab Emirates.
The Houthis swept into Sanaa in September 2014 and advanced across much of Yemen, forcing the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee—initially to Saudi Arabia, although he returned to Aden, Yemen's second city, a year ago. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched their intervention in March 2015. The conflict has killed more than 6,700—nearly two-thirds of them civilians—and displaced at least three million, according to the United Nations (Middle East Online, Middle East Online, Al Arabiya, National Yemen, National Yemen, Oct. 10)