Red Sea tensions: Yemen’s Houthis ‘attack’ US carrier after deadly strikes

Rebel group claims assault after reporting 16 killed in US-UK attacks on the Hodeidah province.

Houthi supporters march marking the anniversary of Yemeni unity in Sanaa, Yemen
Houthi supporters march marking the anniversary of Yemeni unity in Sanaa, Yemen, on May 22, 2024 [Osamah Abdulrahman/AP Photo]

Yemen’s Houthis say they have launched a missile attack on a United States aircraft carrier in the Red Sea in response to deadly US and British strikes on Yemen.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree announced the attack on the Eisenhower carrier on Friday; the group earlier claimed that at least 16 people were killed in US and UK assaults on the Hodeidah province, the highest publicly acknowledged death toll from multiple rounds of strikes over the group’s assault on shipping.

The fallout from Thursday’s attacks was announced on Al Masirah television, a Houthi-controlled channel, which broadcast a video that appeared to depict wounded civilians being treated in Hodeidah. At least 42 people were reportedly injured.

“The American-British aggression will not prevent us from continuing our military operations in support of Palestine,” Houthi official Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said on X, warning that the rebels would “meet escalation with escalation”.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on X that attacks against 13 Houthi targets had “successfully destroyed” eight uncrewed aerial vehicles, or drones, in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and over the Red Sea.

The British Ministry of Defence said Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s conducted attacks on Hodeidah and further south in Ghulayfiqah. It described targets as “buildings identified as housing drone ground control facilities and providing storage for very long-range drones, as well as surface-to-air weapons”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the military action was a form of “self-defence in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose”.


The Houthi movement, an Iran-aligned group that controls much of Yemen after nearly a decade of war against a Western-backed and Saudi-led coalition, has emerged as a strong supporter of Palestinians in Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 people.

The group has launched repeated drone and missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb strait, and the Gulf of Aden since November, demanding that Israel end the war.

Iran condemned the US-UK strikes as “violations of Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity … international laws and human rights”, Iranian state media reported.

“The aggressor US and British governments are responsible for the consequences of these crimes against the Yemeni people,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said.

According to the US Maritime Administration, the Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping in total, killing three sailors, seizing one vessel and sinking another. This week, they attacked a ship carrying grain to Iran.

The campaign has forced shipping firms to avoid the Red Sea route, which normally carries about 12 percent of global trade, rerouting cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around Southern Africa.

Since January, the United States and the United Kingdom have launched retaliatory strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, aiming to degrade their ability to attack the vital waterways. But the attacks have done little to deter the Houthis.

On Wednesday, they said they had attacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier and several other vessels in response to Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies