Houthi Rebels Claim a Second Attack on Carrier USS Eisenhower

An F/A-18 fighter launches from the deck of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower en route to a Houthi target, Feb. 2024 (USN)
An F/A-18 fighter launches from the deck of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower en route to a Houthi target, Feb. 2024 (USN)

Published Jun 2, 2024 4:44 PM by The Maritime Executive


On Saturday, Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed that their forces carried out six attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including an attempted strike on the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and another on an American destroyer. It was the second claimed attack on the Eisenhower in two days. 

Spokesman Yahya Saree claimed that the Houthis targeted the Eisenhower with "a number of" drones, and that they achieved a "direct hit." He also claimed a "direct hit" on an unnamed American destroyer. These claims were repeated by the state media of Iran, the Houthi movements' primary sponsor and weapons supplier. 

The other four alleged attacks targeted "ships belonging to companies that violated the ban on the passage of ships to the ports of occupied Palestine [Israel]." Saree identified the claimed targets as the Maina (twice) and the Aloraiq, both in the Indian Ocean, and the Abliani in the Red Sea. He identified the Houthis' motive as an attempt at retaliation for the ongoing Israeli military operation in Gaza; Israel's Western allies deny that there is a connection. 

The Royal Navy's maritime security coordinating division, UKMTO, confirmed that it had received a report of one incident near the same location. According to UKMTO, the master witnessed one explosion a significant distance from the vessel (it did not identify the ship). The vessel and all crew were reported safe, and they carried on to their next port of call. 

U.S. Central Command did not address the Houthi claims, but said in a statement Sunday that it shot down multiple Houthi munitions. According to Centcom, it destroyed one Houthi drone and saw two others go down in the Red Sea, with no damage reported. U.S. forces also engaged and destroyed two anti-ship ballistic missiles that Houthi units launched at the destroyer USS Gravely. No damage or injuries were reported on any vessel, military or civilian, Centcom said. 

Saturday's statement marked the second time in two days that Yahya Saree described an alleged attack on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. U.S. officials denied his earlier claims and told Politico they were not aware of any activity in the area around the carrier.

Houthi forces claimed one additional motive for the retaliatory attacks on U.S. vessels: On Thursday, U.S. and UK forces carried out strikes against more than a dozen Houthi positions in Yemen, responding to a resurgence in the group's attacks on merchant shipping and coalition assets.