Houthis Claim Targeting Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower in Retaliatory Strike

Eisenhower carrier
Houthi claimed targeting the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea (USN file photo)

Published May 31, 2024 1:00 PM by The Maritime Executive


Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree outlined a series of attacks by their forces claiming to have targeted the U.S. aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in retaliation for “brutal aggression,” by the U.S. and UK forces. U.S. officials however are firmly denying an attack and told a reporter for Politico they were not even aware of any activity in the area around the carrier.

The claim asserted that the “missile force and naval force carried out a joint military operation” targeting the Eisenhower in the Red Sea. They said the attack was carried out with missiles and asserted it was “accurate and direct.”

It was said to be in retaliation for the Israeli attacks on Rafah which reportedly killed 58 people as well as the attacks by U.S. and UK forces overnight on the Houthi areas of Yemen. They are asserting that six U.S. and UK strikes killed 16 people and wounded 41 others, including civilians. 

U.S. Central Command did confirm that U.S. forces had identified additional threats from the Houthi. During the afternoon local time on May 30, they reported downing eight UAVs that had been launched over the Red Sea. The drones were said to be a threat to shipping but the U.S. did not identify any vessels that might have been targeted.

The allied strikes came after a week of increased aggression by the Houthi which claimed to have targeted 10 ships. Saree asserted that they have targeted a total of 129 vessels since November 2023. In the last week, he said they have launched a total of 27 ballistic missiles and drones at targets in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean.

Only one strike was confirmed with at least three hits on the Greek-owned bulker Laax from multiple assaults. Two holes were visible near the waterline in photos supplied by French forces and one of the cargo hatches was askew with a hole. Reports are confirming that the vessel was bound for Iran transporting grain.

The UK Ministry of Defence issued a statement after the joint operation overnight against Houthi targets saying it was meant to “degrade their ability their ability to persist with attacks on international shipping.” The UK reported launching Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s from an undisclosed location and using Paveway IV guided bombs. RAF Voyager tankers provided air refueling to the Typhoons they reported.

Targets included two locations near Hudaydah which were said to be supporting the anti-shipping attacks. Some of the targets were reported to house drone control facilities and storage for the long-range drones as well as the surface-to-air weapons. The British said in the south they targeted command and control facilities.

CENTCOM said a total of 13 sites were targeted. “These actions are necessary to protect our forces, ensure freedom of navigation, and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S., coalition, and merchant vessels,” the statement said.

Earlier in the week, the Houthi asserted downing U.S. surveillance drones. U.S. commanders said they were aware of the claims without commenting if any drones had been lost.