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USS Mason Fired on Again Off Coast of Yemen: Officials

At least one missile was fired at the destroyer, but the ship deployed countermeasures and was not struck. It was targeted twice earlier this week.
The USS Mason conducts maneuvers as part of an exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Sept. 10, 2016. For the second time this week two missiles were fired at the USS Mason in the Red Sea, and officials believe they were launched by the same Yemen-based Houthi rebels involved in the earlier attack, a U.S. military official said Wednesday.Blake Midnight / U.S. Navy via AP

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mason was fired on again in international waters off the coast of Yemen, but the ship deployed countermeasures and the vessel was not struck, two U.S. officials said.

The incident occurred late Saturday or early Sunday local time. At least one missile was fired, the officials said.

"The Mason once again appears to have come under attack in the Red Sea, again from coastal defense cruise missiles fired from the coast of Yemen," Navy Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told reporters at an event in Baltimore Saturday.

The destroyer was targeted by missiles fired from rebel-controlled areas in Yemen twice earlier this week, prompting the U.S. military to launch cruise missiles that destroyed three radar sites in response.

After the earlier attempted missile attacks this week, a Defense Department official warned that those who fire on U.S. vessels do so at their peril.

Related: Who Are Yemen's Houthis and What Do They Want?

Yemen is embroiled in a two-year-long conflict between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. More than 4,000 civilians have been killed since the conflict escalated in March 2015, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rightssaid on Monday.

Secretary of State John Kerry called for a cease fire between the groups Sunday in London. "We cannot emphasize enough today the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen," he told reporters, according to Reuters.

The U.S. strike against radar installations in Yemen were carried out by the USS Nitze at around 4 a.m. Thursday local time and involved Tomahawk cruise missiles, the military said.

"They have everything that they need to defend themselves from these attacks and respond when needed," Richardson said of the ships.

The missiles were fired on the USS Mason this week as it was in the area of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, officials said.

After the U.S. strikes in Yemen, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement: "The United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world."