Several missiles were fired at a US Navy destroyer from Houthi rebel-held area in Yemen on Saturday (15 October), in the third such attempt in the last week, US authorities said.

According to a US defence official, multiple surface-to-surface missiles were fired at the USS Mason that was sailing in international waters in the Red Sea but the ship used counter steps to protect itself and was not hit.

On Thursday, the US military launched cruise missiles against three coastal radar sites in Houthi-held areas in Yemen as a response to the two previous failed firings at the USS Mason. Officials further added that the missiles were fired against the Mason this week as it was in the area of Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Admiral John Richardson, US chief of naval operations, said in Baltimore on Sunday, "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."

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to Reuters, another defence official said: "We are assessing the situation. All of our ships and crews are safe and unharmed."

The US countermeasures on Thursday, authorised by President Barack Obama, were the first direct military action by the United States against alleged Houthi-rebel targets in Yemen. The action also raised questions about further escalation.

Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook at the time said that the US countermeasures were not related to the wider Yemen conflict going on in the country that has triggered worries of famine and killed at least 3,800 people since the conflict escalated in March 2015.

Earlier this week, the Houthi rebels denied responsibility for the attacks against the Mason and said that they too would defend themselves.

The US, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, has provided air refuelling to fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition and also supplies weapons to the Gulf state. On the other hand, Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels, last week said that it deployed two warships to the Gulf of Aden, to defend ship lanes from piracy.