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Houthi claim of attack on US aircraft carrier false, US officials say

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Adds Pentagon statement in paragraphs 6-7 on carrier's movement to European waters

WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) -A claim by Yemen's Houthi group on Saturday that its forces had attacked the U.S. aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea is false, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

"That is incorrect," one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Iran-aligned Houthis first launched drone and missile strikes in the key waterway for trade in November in what they say is solidarity with Palestinian militants in Gaza, where Israel has waged a more than eight-month war.

In more than 70 attacks, the Houthis have sunk two vessels, seized another and killed at least three seafarers. But U.S. warships have successfully intercepted almost daily Houthi attacks and repeatedly struck Houthi targets inside Yemen.

The Eisenhower, which ended its deployment to the Red Sea on Saturday and will briefly reposition to the Mediterranean Sea, rushed to the region in the days following Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"The (Eisenhower carrier strike group) protected ships transiting the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden, rescued innocent mariners against the unlawful attacks from the Iranian-backed Houthis and helped to deter further aggression," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Pentagon announced the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) will follow the Eisenhower, heading to Middle East waters once it completes an exercise in the Pacific.

Earlier the Houthi group said its forces had attacked the Eisenhower in the Red Sea and the operation had achieved its objectives successfully, without elaborating. The group also said it attacked a commercial ship, Transworld Navigator, in the Arabian Sea. It did not say when the attacks took place.

A Houthi statement said the Transworld Navigator took a direct hit from a missile.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Rod Nickel


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