U.S. Launches Second Strike on Houthi Positions in Yemen

missile launch for US warship
USS Carney - which undertook the second strike - has been active also shooting down drones and missiles (CENTCOM photo)

Published Jan 13, 2024 12:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command announced a follow-up strike on Houthi positions in Yemen. American officials continue to say their efforts are aimed at degrading the rebels’ ability to launch missiles and drones against commercial shipping in the region. The regional command also reported that two Navy personnel had gone missing at sea off Somalia, and that a search was under way. 

At 0345 local time on January 13, U.S. forces conducted a strike against a Houthi radar site in Yemen. CENTCOM classified it as a “follow-on action on a specific military target associated with strikes taken on January 12 designed to degrade the Houthi’s ability to attack maritime vessels, including commercial vessels.”

The USS Carney is the only vessel reported involved in the latest strikes which were more targeted and isolated than the counterattack launched on the 12th. CENTCOM said that they used Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.

The second round of strikes came hours after the Houthis vowed to retaliate on the U.S. and British after the first strikes. They said the strikes would not stop their attacks on shipping and as if to prove it they launched a new attack later on January 12. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organizations reported that an unnamed ship saw a missile explode in the ocean approximately 400 to 500 meters from its position which was approximately 90 nautical miles south of Aden, Yemen in the Gulf of Aden. 

TankerTrackers.com and others later reported that it was a laden crude oil tanker that reported the missile.  The same unnamed vessel reported that it was being followed by three small boats but the vessel was able to proceed unharmed. Later, UKMTO reported that other vessels sailing approximately 80 miles south east of Aden also saw small boats making approaches and in one case a ship said two small boats followed it for nearly an hour.

UKMTO numbered these as the seventh and eighth incidents in 2024 after it issued 24 incident warnings in 2023. CENTCOM reports since November 19, 2023, Iranian-backed Houthi militants have by its count attempted to attack and harass vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden 28 times.

Separately, Central Command said that two sailors went missing at sea while conducting operations off the coast of Somalia. The command did not immediately provide details, adding that it "will not release additional information until the personnel recovery operation is complete" in order to preserve operational security.