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Houthis attack US carrier in Red Sea following deadly strikes on Yemen

Houthi supporters (Photo: Reuters)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels say that they have launched a missile strike on a United States aircraft carrier in the Red Sea in retaliation for recent deadly strikes by the US and UK in Yemen, Al Jazeera reported.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree announced the attack on the Eisenhower carrier on Friday, following earlier claims by the group that at least 16 people were killed in US and UK assaults on Yemen’s Hodeidah province. This marks the highest publicly acknowledged death toll from multiple rounds of strikes linked to the group’s alleged assaults on shipping.

Al Masirah television, a Houthi-controlled channel, broadcasted footage showing wounded civilians being treated in Hodeidah, revealing the fallout from Thursday’s attacks. At least 42 people were reported injured.

“The American-British aggression will not prevent us from continuing our military operations in support of Palestine,” Houthi official Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said on X, warning that the rebels would “meet escalation with escalation”.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that attacks on 13 Houthi targets resulted in the destruction of eight uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and over the Red Sea, according to Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defence stated that Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s conducted strikes on Hodeidah and Ghulayfiqah. It described 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”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the military action as a form of “self-defence in the face of an ongoing threat that the Houthis pose”.

The Houthi movement, aligned with Iran, controls significant portions of Yemen after nearly a decade of conflict against a Western-backed and Saudi-led coalition. They have vocally supported Palestinians amid Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza, launching repeated drone and missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb strait, and the Gulf of Aden since November.

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

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

According to the US Maritime Administration, Houthis have launched over 50 attacks on shipping, resulting in casualties, vessel seizures, and disruptions to global trade routes. The campaign has forced shipping firms to seek alternative routes, impacting approximately 12 per cent of global trade that traverses the Red Sea.

Despite retaliatory strikes by the US and UK aimed at degrading Houthi capabilities, the rebels have continued their assaults. In their latest actions, they targeted a Greek-owned bulk carrier and other vessels in response to Israeli strikes on Gaza, Al Jazeera reported.