Houthis claim to have launched missile attack on US aircraft carrier in wake of US-UK strikes on Yemen

Houthis claim to have launched missile attack on US aircraft carrier in wake of US-UK strikes on Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis claim to have launched an attack on a US air carrier in response to earlier British and American strikes on its military bases.

The militant group say it has attacked the USS Dwight D Eisenhower ship in the Red Sea following strikes by London and Washington on targets in Yemen.

A US defence official told Reuters they were not aware of any attack on the Eisenhower.

In a televised address Yahya Saree, the Houthis military spokesman, also claimed that six US and British strikes have killed 16 people and wounded 41, including civilians.

On Thursday, British and American forces struck Houthi targets in Yemen as part of an ongoing operation against the group’s targeting of commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Yahya Sarea speaks at a press conference (Getty)
Yahya Sarea speaks at a press conference (Getty)

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said intelligence confirmed two locations near Hudaydah were involved in the anti-shipping attacks, with buildings identified as housing drone ground control facilities and storage for long range drones.

A set of Houthi facilities at Ghulayfiqah, further south on the Yemeni coast, were also identified as being involved in the command and control of the group’s anti-shipping campaign.

American and British fighter jets and US ships hit a wide range of targets, according to the MoD. RAF Typhoon FGR4s conducted strikes on the target buildings at the three locations, using Paveway IV guided bombs.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said the UK “will not hesitate” to protect British interests. He said last night’s strikes were conducted “to further degrade the military capabilities of the Houthis and to prevent further attacks on international shipping”.

Rishi Sunak said the UK ‘will not hesitate’ to protect British interests (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak said the UK ‘will not hesitate’ to protect British interests (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

“The strikes were taken in self-defence in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose,” Mr Sunak added.

The UK and US strikes came after images published on Wednesday purported to show another US MQ-9 Reaper drone downed in Yemen.

The Houthis released footage they said showed the aircraft being targeted with a surface-to-air missile in a desert region of Yemen’s central Marib province. It marked the third such downing this month alone.

Images analysed by the Associated Press showed the MQ-9 on its belly in the barren desert, its tail assembly disconnected from their rest of its body.

At least one hatch on the drone appeared to have been opened after it landed there, though the drone remained broadly intact without any clear blast damage. One image included Wednesday’s date.

A US MQ-9 Reaper drone
A US MQ-9 Reaper drone

The drone did not appear to carry any markings on it.

Authorities in Marib, which remains held by allies of Yemen’s exiled government, did not acknowledge the drone.

A US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, told the Associated Press that “the US Air Force has not lost any aircraft operating within US Central Command’s area of responsibility.”

The official declined to elaborate.

The CIA also is believed to have flown Reaper drones over Yemen, both to monitor the war and in its campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen’s local affiliate of the militant group. The CIA declined to comment when reached by the AP.

According to the US Maritime Administration, the Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping since November, after tensions in the region flared amid Israel’s war with Hamas.

Additional reporting by agencies