Houthis claim attack on US aircraft carrier after American, UK strikes said to kill 16

Iran-backed terrorist group vows to ‘meet escalation with escalation’ after deadliest attack on sites in several cities in Yemen

Forces loyal to the Houthis in Yemen participate in a military parade on the occasion of the 34th National Day to commemorate Yemeni unity, in Sanaa, on May 22, 2024. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)
Forces loyal to the Houthis in Yemen participate in a military parade on the occasion of the 34th National Day to commemorate Yemeni unity, in Sanaa, on May 22, 2024. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis said on Friday they launched a missile attack on a US aircraft carrier in the Red Sea after they threatened to escalate attacks on Red Sea shipping in response to overnight strikes by the United States and Britain that killed 16 people.

Three US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe a then-ongoing attack, said the US and UK hit a wide range of underground facilities, missile launchers, command and control sites, a Houthi vessel and other facilities inside Yemen.

They called it a response to a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed terrorist group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden over the Israel-Hamas war.

The US F/A-18 fighter jets involved in the strikes launched from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea, officials said. Other US warships in the region also participated.

The US Central Command, or CENTCOM, said 13 Houthi sites were targeted in a bid to degrade their ability to attack shipping.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree later said that the Eisenhower had been targeted with several drones and ballistic missiles.

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said that the aircraft carrier was fine.

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.”

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

The Houthis focused Friday morning on a strike that hit a building housing Hodeida Radio and civilian homes in the port city on the Red Sea. Their Al Masirah satellite news channel aired images of one bloodied man being carried downstairs and others in the hospital, receiving aid.

They described all those killed and hurt in Hodeida as civilians, something The Associated Press could not immediately confirm. The rebel force that’s held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014 includes fighters who often are not in uniform.

A view of the Laax, a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier that came under attack by Yemen’s Houthis earlier this week, May 30, 2024. (Etat Major des Armees via AP)

Other strikes hit outside of Sanaa near its airport and communication equipment in Taiz, the broadcaster said. Little other information was released on those sites — likely signaling that Houthi military sites had been struck.

In the United Kingdom, the country’s Defense Ministry said Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s conducted strikes on both Hodeida and further south in Ghulayfiqah. It 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 strikes were taken in self-defense in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

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

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issues a statement after British and US forces struck Houthi targets in Yemen, 10 Downing Street, London, May 31, 2024. (Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP)

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

The US and the UK have launched strikes against the Houthis since January, with the US regularly carrying out its own in the time since as well. Abdul Malik al-Houthi, the Houthis’ secretive supreme leader, offered an overall death toll for the strikes up to that point as 40 people killed and 35 others wounded. He did not offer a breakdown between civilian and combatant casualties at the time.

The Houthis have stepped up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians there, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The toll, which cannot be verified as it does not differentiate between terrorists and civilians, includes some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle.

Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

The war began after Hamas-led terrorists attacked Israel on October 7, murdering about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 252 hostages.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration. This week, they attacked a ship carrying grain to Iran, the rebels’ main benefactor.

On Wednesday, another US MQ-9 Reaper drone apparently crashed in Yemen, with the Houthis claiming they fired a surface-to-air missile at it. The US Air Force didn’t report any aircraft missing, leading to suspicion that the drone may have been piloted by the CIA. As many as three may have been lost in May alone.

Most Popular
read more: