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US Navy faces down Houthi attacks as Washington signals open-ended effort

Saudi Arabia has restricted the US military from launching strikes in Yemen from bases on Saudi territory, leaving a US Navy aircraft carrier to shoulder the campaign in the Red Sea.
A US F/A-18 taxis to the runway of the USS Eisenhower in the southern Red Sea. Feb. 21, 2024

This is an excerpt from Security Briefing, Al-Monitor's weekly newsletter covering defense and conflict developments in the Middle East. To get Security Briefing in your inbox, sign up here.

ABOARD USS EISENHOWER — At 3:24 a.m. last Thursday, a low voice came over the public alert system onboard the USS Eisenhower, the American aircraft carrier in the southern Red Sea. 

Within half an hour, an F/A-18E Super Hornet roared off the deck and into the night sky, the first of several fighter jets scrambled to intercept half a dozen Houthi drones fired from Yemen toward US and coalition warships.

US Navy pilots of the Eisenhower’s Carrier Air Wing 3 and accompanying destroyers have shot down dozens of unmanned drones and anti-ship ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis into international waters off Yemen’s coast in recent weeks, chalking up firsts in the history of counter-drone warfare. 

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