No, the Houthis did not attack a US Aircraft Carrier

No, the Houthis did not attack a US Aircraft Carrier

The Iran-backed Yemenite Houthi rebels announced on Friday that they had launched a missile attack targeting the U.S.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Eisenhower in the Red Sea. The alleged attack was a response to six US and British strikes on 13 targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen that killed 16 people and wounded 41. Three US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US and UK hit a wide range of underground facilities, missile launchers, command and control sites, a Houthi vessel and other facilities.

The UK Defense Ministry described its 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.” 

The airstrikes were carried out by  US F/A-18 fighter jets involved in the strikes launched from the Eisenhower along with Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s.

The strikes were intended to deter the terrorist group from further disrupting shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The US Maritime Administration reported that the Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel, and sunk another since November. This week, they attacked a ship carrying grain to Iran, the rebels’ main benefactor.

The “USS Carney” guided-missile destroyer defeats a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea on Oct. 19, 2023. Credit: U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree later said on Friday that the Eisenhower had been targeted with several drones and ballistic missiles. Saree appeared on Houthi-run al-Masirah TV on Saturday night, claiming that the terrorist organization had launched a second wave of missile attacks targeting the US carrier. Saree also claimed a drone attack on an unnamed US destroyer in the Red Sea and “a number of operations” targeting commercial vessels accused of violating a Houthi ban on entering Israeli ports.

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, threatened both the US and UK with further retaliation. 

“The American-British aggression will not prevent us from continuing our military operations in support of Palestine,” he wrote on X. “We will meet escalation with escalation.”

A defense official told Business Insider  that the reports of the Eisenhower being hit were false. The US official added that they were unaware that missiles had even been fired at the aircraft carrier or in its vicinity.

Houthi spokesperson Mohamed Abdelsalam said the US and UK strikes were a “brutal aggression” against Yemen as punishment for its support of Gaza.

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

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

The British Defense Ministry denied the claims.

“As always, the utmost care was taken in planning the strikes to minimize any risk to civilians or non-military infrastructure,” the British defense ministry said.

“Conducting the strikes in the hours of darkness should also have mitigated yet further any such risks.”

Israel’s long-range Arrow air defense system shot down a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, apparently fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, over the Red Sea near the Israeli city of Eilat on Monday morning, the military said.

Iran has reportedly supplied the Houthis, a Shia terrorist group in charge of much of Yemen, with anti-ship missiles.

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